Australian pandemic vaccine trial shows encouraging results
CSL Ltd's preliminary results from its clinical trial of a pandemic influenza vaccine based on the H5N1 bird flu virus.
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17 Feburary 2006
This morning CSL Ltd announced preliminary results from its clinical trial of a pandemic influenza vaccine based on the H5N1 bird flu virus.
The Howard Government provided $4.93 million to fast track this trial. Today’s results are an important step in Australia’s efforts to ensure it has the capacity to rapidly develop a vaccine on-shore to respond to a possible influenza pandemic.
CSL reports that results from the first phase of human clinical trials have shown that it is possible to vaccinate people against the bird flu virus using existing technology and that two doses of vaccine, used in conjunction with a stimulant or adjuvant, can produce an immune response to the virus.
CSL has stated that further research is needed to determine the optimal doses of vaccine. The vaccine will be tested in a wider range of age groups to ensure safety and a sufficient immune response in the young and elderly.
Australia is one of the most prepared countries in the world to respond to an outbreak of avian influenza or an influenza pandemic. Since the emergence of avian influenza in Asia in 2003 the Australian Government has committed a total of $555 million on avian influenza and pandemic preparedness measures, including $414 million on the Australian health response and $141 million to help our regional neighbours.
In December last year the Government allocated $16.6 million for the purchase of five million doses of this H5N1 vaccine if it is shown to be safe, effective and supported by expert medical advice.
The National Influenza Pandemic Action Committee, chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath, will meet soon to review the preliminary CSL trial results.
More information about Australia’s preparations for a possible influenza pandemic can be found in the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response section of the Department of Health and Ageing’s website at: www.health.gov.au
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.
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