Toronto, Sept. 6 (CNA) Taiwan and Canada officially began a project Thursday aimed at developing preventive vaccines against hospital-acquired infections, Science Minister Cyrus Chu announced Thursday during a visit to Toronto.
Under the project, researchers are being asked to develop new vaccines within three years and to start the trial stage on new drugs in the fifth year of the program, said Chu, who heads Taiwan's National Science Council.
Chu made the announcement along with John R. McDougall, president of the National Research Council of Canada, and Sean Wang, president of ITRI International Inc., a subsidiary of the Taiwan-based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).
He said hospital-acquired infections, which refer to infections not present and without evidence of incubation at the time of admission to a health care setting, are a big challenge to both Taiwan and Canada.
Several hundred thousand patients are infected at hospitals in Taiwan each year, Chu said, prolonging the time patients need to stay in hospitals and increasing patients' risk of death.
In Canada, hospital-acquired infections cost its medical system 9.6 billion Canadian dollars (US$9.8 billion) in 2011 alone, according to the Canadian research institute.
The development of new vaccines will be the most effective way to prevent and control such infections, Chu said.
(By Paul Chang and Elizabeth Hsu)