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First hepatitis E vaccine hits market in China

(Xinhua)

14:52, October 29, 2012

XIAMEN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The world's first hepatitis E vaccine "Hecolin" is now available on the Chinese market, a pharmaceutical company confirmed on Saturday.

The vaccine hit the market after a two-year clinical trial involving 113,000 volunteers in east China's Jiangsu Province.

Developed by Xiamen University and Xiamen Innovax Biotech Co. Ltd. in southeast China's Fujian Province, the vaccine was approved for production in December 2011.

At a launch in the city of Xiamen, Gao Yongzhong, general manager of Xiamen Innovax, said the company is working with the government to offer the vaccine to high-risk members of the public. It is also cooperating with international organizations to introduce it to other countries.

The hepatitis E virus is shed in feces and spread through tainted water and food. The World Health Organization estimates that 20 million people around the world are infected by the virus each year.

In China, hepatitis E is now the most common type of hepatitis infecting adults. It is also widespread in South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America.

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