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U.S. Government Starts Test of SARS Vaccine

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The first U.S. vaccine against SARS, which swept parts of Asia and around the world in 2003, is ready to be tested in human volunteers, government researchers said on Monday.

The Phase I safety trial, done to show the SARS shot causes no harm, will take place at the Vaccine Research Center, part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The researchers will use a vaccine that was reported in March to work safely and effectively in mice. They will seek 10 volunteers for the trial. Chinese researchers began human testing of a SARS vaccine in May. The team at Sinovac Biotech Ltd. said on Monday that their vaccine appeared safe in people and prompted a desirable immune response in 23 out of 24 volunteers. Severe acute respiratory syndrome emerged in China’s southern Guangdong province in November 2002 and spread as far as Canada by the following April. Before it was brought under control, the previously unknown virus killed 774 people and made about 8,000 sick. SARS has caused no more outbreaks in the general population, but researchers are testing their ability to formulate vaccines quickly against infections that crop up for the first time. When a new virus begins infecting people it often causes high mortality rates. Vical Inc of San Diego will produce the DNA-based immunization, which was designed by an NIAID research team. It often takes decades for scientists to develop a successful vaccine against an infectious disease.(Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Reuters Health, December 2004)

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Posted On: 14 December, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013


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