Vietnam military to test bird flu vaccine on humans

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.

The official did not give a specific date but said the Health Ministry had approved testing that would last eight months at the Military Medical Academy in Ha Tay province near Hanoi.

“We are going to conduct the tests at the academy, with people joining on a voluntary basis, including students and employees,” said the official, who asked not to be identified in the media.

The academy had been licensed by the Ministry of Health to conduct the trial but it still required permission from the Ministry of Defense, the official said.

A company run by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology said in a statement on its Web site (http://www.vabiotechvn.com) that it would produce six million doses per year for application on both humans and poultry should the tests be successful.

WHO in Vietnam said it was not directly involved in the Communist-run Southeast Asian country’s development of a human vaccine for the H5N1 virus.

“Our understanding is that this would be for local issue only and that the Ministry of Health has rigorous guidelines for quality control,” said Dida Connor, WHO spokeswoman in Hanoi.

The Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1, known as Vabiotech, said in its statement that the vaccine used for poultry would be 1.5 microgram per dose, or one tenth the dose for humans.

Bird flu story source: Reuters

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