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Malaysia approves bird flu vaccine - The New Straits Times Online

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  • Malaysia approves bird flu vaccine - The New Straits Times Online

    Malaysia approves bird flu vaccine - The New Straits Times Online
    2009/02/26

    Malaysia approves bird flu vaccine

    KUALA LUMPUR:

    Malaysia is the first country outside Europe to approve a pre-pandemic avian influenza vaccine called Prepandrix.


    The Malaysia Drug Control Authority recently approved the new vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

    GSK Pharmaceutical Malaysia managing director Francis Del Val said the company was looking forward to working with the Health Ministry in its efforts to prepare for a possible pandemic.

    He said GSK's Prepandrix is a pre-pandemic drug to vaccinate populations prior to a H5N1 avian influenza pandemic.

    Prepandrix is designed to provide cross-protection against a range of avian influenza caused by H5N1 strains.A total of 408 people have been infected by bird flu since 2003, of which 255, mostly in Asia, died.

    The H5N1 virus spreads from birds to humans via direct contact but experts fear it could mutate into a form transmissible among humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic.

    GSK clinical research and development and medical affairs public health physician and director Dr Teoh Yee Leong said Prepandrix was approved by all 27 European Union member states as well as Switzerland.

    "The vaccine has proven in clinical trials that it is immunogenic against a number of H5N1 viral strains, including those circulating in Asia."

    Teoh said there were two types of avian influenza vaccines: pandemic and pre-pandemic vaccines.

    A pandemic vaccine carries the actual pandemic strain and is produced after it has been isolated.

    Teoh said the problem with this vaccine was that it took four to six months to produce, leaving populations highly vulnerable during the initial period of a pandemic.

    Pre-pandemic vaccines, she said, were produced before an influenza pandemic and are based on current circulating avian H5N1 influenza viruses.
    -
    <cite cite="http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Thursday/National/2489940/Article/index_html">The New Straits Times Online.......</cite>
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