July 22, 2009

First human H1N1 vaccine trials begin

The first human trials of the H1N1 flu vaccines began Wednesday in Australia, where the flu season is under way.

About 500 people turned out for the trials, various media outlets reported.

Drug companies CSL and Vaxine began testing their products -- CSL on 240 healthy adult volunteers and Vaxine on 300, Nature.com reported.

CSL's Research and Development Director Andrew Cuthbertson told the Sydney Morning Herald said the vaccine should be proven by late September.

As soon as I have confirmation that the vaccine is safe and effective, I will ensure it can be rolled out to the community, Australia's Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

Cuthbertson said H1N1 flu virus, formerly called swine flu, hasn't mutated yet.

So far at least it doesn't appear to have changed very much which I guess from the point of view of preparing a vaccine is a good thing, he said.

The world will be watching to see the immunogenicity results of this first clinical trial, said Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the World Health Organization's initiative for vaccine research. It is likely to be indicative of how the other vaccine candidates will perform.