Worldwide Experiments in Progress for “One Shot” Swine Flu Vaccine

The Chinese and the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, both have approved a vaccine that claims to prevent swine flu in a single dose. It is contrary to the earlier expectation that the vaccine against H1N1 would be multi-dose. The results from a pilot study of Novartis, H1N1 candidate vaccine showed a strong immune response after just one shot.

The World Health Organization stated that it is encouraged after reviewing the test details from the vaccine by Beijing-based drug maker Sinovac Biotech Ltd. However, WHO refused to comment on Novartis’ vaccine as it had not yet seen the data. According to WHO, a number of companies were working on one-dose formulations that could theoretically increase the world’s swine flu vaccine supplies.

Novartis results are based on a British trial of 100 people between 18 and 50 years old who received either one or two shots of its swine flu vaccine. Scientists from the University of Leicester, who tested the vaccine on these 100 healthy volunteers, found that more than 80% of them showed a strong, potentially protective immune response after one dose. More than 90% showed the same response after two doses. People who got two shots had a better immune response, but just one injection also provided adequate protection within two weeks.

The swine flu vaccine developed by Novartis was made with the help of cell culture, while about 90 percent of the world’s flu vaccines are made using chicken eggs. Novartis is also testing other H1N1 vaccine formulations in more than 6,000 people worldwide. The company has also agreed to carry out a separate trial in India to prove the vaccine’s safety and efficacy on the Indian population. Australia-based CSL would also get the results shortly about whether one dose of its vaccine, administered to volunteers in that country in late July, was enough or not. On the other hand, America said that it is too early to determine if a “one shot” H1N1 flu vaccine will be effective. The US health officials are in a wait-and-see position. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is presently waiting for data to come in from the clinical trials.

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