A Vietnamese company is beginning a human trial of a new bird flu vaccine. Vabiotech, a subsidiary of Vietnam's National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, plans eight months of testing in a country that has recorded 52 deaths from the virus. And if researchers harvest positive data, the company plans to begin commercial production of the vaccine next year. Vabiotech has reported positive data from animal studies in 2005 and 2007.Â
UN officials have been sounding an alarm over rising fears that bird flu could mutate into a new strain that could pass easily among humans. In Indonesia, according to the UN, the bird flu virus has become endemic in 31 out of the country's 33 provinces. And UN officials predict more human deaths there. Meanwhile, an Indonesian official is accusing the U.S. of using Indonesia as a laboratory for bird flu research so that it can profit from the new vaccines that are developed. Health Minister Siti Fadhilah said that "If we die, they will benefit from the sale of the vaccines."
ALSO: A brief bird flu scare in Toronto prompted health officials to test two travelers for the virus. The tests came back negative, but rumors prompted a flood of calls from people frightened by the idea that they may have been exposed. Report
PLUS: Iomai Corporation announced positive interim results from the 500-subject Phase 1/2 trial of its immunostimulant adjuvant patch used with an injected vaccine for H5N1 influenza. Release