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Taiwan unveils new vaccine against infectious respiratory virus

2012/04/18 20:07

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) The Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry said Tuesday it has developed a safer and more convenient vaccine against human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes tens of millions of infections worldwide every year.

Researchers have tested the vaccine on animals and hope that more tests required by the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be completed in 2013.

They can then apply for the first phase of clinic trials in the U.S. on the vaccine against the virus that often attacks the respiratory tracts of children and the elderly, the institute said.

The institute is collaborating with the National Health Research Institutes and local biotech firm TWi Biotechnology in the research.

Some 160,000 people worldwide die every year of severe diseases caused by the virus, including pneumonia, according to the institute.

The research team led by Chow Yen-hung, an assistant research fellow at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, developed the vaccine using adenoviruses as vectors and cutting off the nucleotide sequence that triggers side effects.

The process is a pioneering technique that is ahead of all pharmaceutical companies around the world, the institute stated.

Most RSV vaccines on the market have potential for negative side effects such as lung infections, according to the institute.

The Taiwan-developed vaccine not only reduces the side effects but has also proved effective in pre-clinical animal experiments, it noted.

The project is part of a program operating for the last two years that brings together academics and the biotech industry to boost the commercialization of scientific findings.

(By Luo Hsiu-wen and Kendra Lin) ENDITEM/J