China Approves Commercial Production of Human Bird Flu Vaccine

China is trying to prevent major outbreaks of avian influenza before the Olympics and avoid the bird-to-human spread of the virus that occurred in 1997 in Hong Kong. Xinhua reports that China is making a commercial vaccine available:

China’s food and drug regulators on Wednesday authorized a domestic pharmaceutical firm to begin commercial production of a human vaccine, following more than two years of clinical trials.

The firm, Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Co., Ltd. will produce vaccines to defend humans against the H5N1 virus and its epidemic variety, making China the world’s second country with the technology and industrial capacity to produce human bird flu vaccine.

According to Yin Weidong, general manager of the firm, Sinovac has the ability to produce new vaccines even if the virus mutates in humans.

According to the SFDA, the vaccine will also be on hand as part of the preparations for dealing with any possible epidemic during the Beijing Olympics this summer.

China has also banned the importation of poultry products from Turkey in its efforts to avoid a pandemic. From Xinhua:

On March 18, Turkey reported an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus to the World Organization for Animal Health, according to a statement from the MOA and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

China has banned imports of poultry and related products from Turkey to prevent the spread of bird flu, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said on Wednesday.

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