China to conduct clinical tests of SARS vaccine soon

China is expected to conduct clinical experiments of a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) by the end of December, leading the world in the search for the world's first vaccine against the deadly disease, a drug official said Saturday.

Yin Hongzhang, head of the Biological Product Section of the State Food and Drug Administration, said the administration is expected to approve clinical tests of the vaccine by the end of December.

Pre-clinical experiments of the vaccine have been completed, said the official.

China has produced about 1,400 shots of the vaccine, and another 20,000 shots will be packaged and inspected by quality control experts, Yin said.

He said tests of the vaccine on monkeys showed it was effective in fighting against SARS infection after the animals were exposed to the virus, and no serious side effects.

Yin Weidong, general manager of Beijing Kexing Bio-product Co., the developer of the vaccine, said an application for clinical tests had been submitted to the State Food and Drug Administration.

Yin Hongzhang said the drug administration would process the application for clinical tests as quickly as possible.

Scientists with the company began to develop the vaccine at the end of April this year after the outbreak of SARS on the Chinese mainland.

Medical experts around the world have warned that SARS might return, and China remains on alert against the disease.

The Ministry of Health said there have been neither clinically confirmed nor suspected SARS cases on the Chinese mainland since Aug. 16, when the last SARS patient on the mainland was discharged from hospital.



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