Thursday, November 26, 2009

Producer plays down worries about A/H1N1 flu vaccine

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In an interview with METRO, Liu Peicheng, media relations director of Sinovac Biotech Ltd, producer of China's first A/H1N1 flu vaccine, shares his views on the safety of the vaccine.

Two people who had been vaccinated in China died shortly after this month. Does this mean that the safety of the vaccine cannot be guaranteed?

We did clinical tests before administering the vaccination to prove that the vaccine was safe.

If anyone were to ask me whether the 18 million people who have received vaccinations were given a vaccine that was still under testing, I would say: certainly not!

It has been proven that the two people who died did not die because of the vaccine. They were suffering from other diseases.

This kind of coincidence is common for all vaccines.

Producer plays down worries about A/H1N1 flu vaccine

A/H1N1 flu vaccine produced by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

If a new variation of the A/H1N1 is formed, will the vaccine still work? If not, how long will it take for a new vaccine to be produced?

Generally speaking, a virus progresses in two directions. The first is that it gradually disappears; the other is that it gets more severe.

Vaccinations for the A/H1N1 virus may still work to some extent if a new variation is formed.

If it doesn't work, we cannot determine how long it will take for the new vaccine to be produced.

Why are elderly people and children the last groups to receive the vaccination?

The vaccine is less efficient for elderly people and kids. It still works and is strong enough to protect them, but we cannot provide vaccinations for everyone at the same time.

Students and workers in the public sectors are high-risk groups, we needed to take care of them first.

How does the vaccine work? Can it hurt the human body?

Let me put it simply. The vaccine is a part of the virus, which has been split and deactivated.

It is a small amount that will not harm you. When it enters your body, your immune system treats it as an enemy, what we call an antigen.

When introduced into the body, the antigen stimulates the production of an antibody, which can potentially protect the recipient from the disease for an entire lifetime.

Does the vaccine for A/H1N1 flu differ from the seasonal flu vaccine?

Yes, they are different. The virus outburst this year is a new strand of the A/H1N1 virus.

The vaccine for the regular seasonal flu contains three antigens - A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B, 15 mg of those three antigens respectively.

The vaccine we are producing only contains 15 mg of antigens, much less than the seasonal vaccine.

Did you get vaccination? Would you recommend your friends and relatives get it?

Yes, I did. I do recommend they receive the vaccination, because it is safe.

The reason why we only needed 87 days to produce the first vaccine is because the technique is developed.

The process is quite similar to producing the vaccine for the seasonal flu.

I think people have the right to choose whether they get vaccinated or not.

In fact, the disease is not as horrible as we are led to believe. Most people suffering from the disease can recover within a week.

However, for those who are working in public sectors, I think it is safer for them to get vaccinated to avoid getting and spreading the virus.

Will the vaccine work differently for people of different racial backgrounds?

No, there's no difference. The viral strain used to produce the vaccine was given to us by the World Health Organization.

Actually, this means that people from all over the world are receiving the same vaccine.

taken from : China Daily

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