Taiwan looks to first vaccine against fatal H7N9 avian flu

October 14, 2013

Taiwan is scheduled to roll out its first vaccine against the H7N9 strain of avian flu in late 2014, after the island confirmed the first outbreak of the deadly virus earlier this year, researchers said Monday.

Health authorities in Taiwan confirmed in April that a 53-year-old Taiwanese man, who had been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, showed symptoms three days after returning home via Shanghai.

The man, who was infected in China, was in serious but stable condition when he was hospitalised.

Although the patient was eventually discharged, the outbreak prompted Taiwanese authorities to gear up research on a vaccine against the strain of , given the ever closer exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.

"We plan to start Phase II clinical trial in March," which will contain 300 clinical cases, Su Ih-jen, director of the National Institute of Diseases and Vaccinology at the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), told AFP.

After that, the project is scheduled to move into Phase III clinical trial in June, with 1,000 people being tested, he said.

The NHRI is able to produce 200,000 doses of the cell-based vaccine once the project clears the Phase III trial stage, he said.

Su termed as "one of the most deadly diseases" threatening human beings.

"As of now H7N9 is the virus most likely to cause comprehensive transmission throughout the world as studies show that it can be spread through upper ," Su said.

He was comparing it to the H5N1 strain of , which affects airways and lungs, or the .

Since 2003, the H5N1 strain has killed more than 250 people in a dozen countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As of August, WHO has been informed of a total of 135 laboratory-confirmed human cases with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including 44 deaths. Most of the cases were recorded in China.

Following its first outbreak, Taiwan had brought forward plans to ban the killing of live poultry in traditional markets by a month, to May 17.

Under the ban, market vendors will not be allowed to sell birds they have killed themselves, only poultry supplied from Taiwan's 79 approved slaughterhouses.

There are about 870,000 Taiwanese people living in China. Trade and cross-strait travel have soared in recent years, after decades of tension since the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

Explore further: Taiwan reports H6N1 bird flu case

Related Stories

Taiwan reports H6N1 bird flu case

June 21, 2013
Taiwan on Friday reported what it said was the world's first ever human case of the H6N1 strain of bird flu, commonly found in poultry.

Taiwan confirms first case of H7N9 bird flu outside China

April 24, 2013
Taiwan on Wednesday reported the first case of the H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China.

H7N9 flu 'one of most lethal' says WHO as spreads to Taiwan (Update)

April 24, 2013
International experts probing China's deadly H7N9 bird flu virus said Wednesday it was "one of the most lethal influenza viruses" seen so far as Taiwan reported the first case outside the mainland.

China and Taiwan cooperate on bird flu research

April 21, 2013
Taiwan has received specimens of the H7N9 avian flu virus from China to help research the new strain, in what an official described Sunday as a landmark move in health cooperation.

Taiwan finds H5N1 virus in birds smuggled from China

July 17, 2012
Dozens of pet birds smuggled from southern China into Taiwan tested positive for the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus and were destroyed, Taiwanese authorities said Tuesday.

H7N9 bird flu cases set to climb, but no pandemic: WHO

April 3, 2013
The number of cases of H7N9 bird flu in China looks set to climb as experts identify previously unexplained infections, but a lack of human-to-human transmission means a pandemic is not on the cards, the World Health Organisation ...

Recommended for you

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.