Taiwan receives A(H1N1) virus samples from U.S. for vaccine
Central News Agency
Page 2
2009-05-12 01:23 AM
The deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) expressed appreciation to the United States yesterday for its timely supply of influenza A(H1N1) samples that were received earlier that same day.

The samples can not only be produced into a "seed stock" to form the basis for a swine flu vaccine, they can also be used by researchers from the non-profit National Health Research Institute (NHRI) to find out whether the A(H1N1) virus mutates genetically, said Shih Wen-yi, who is also a spokesman for the Central Epidemic Command Center.

In addition, he went on, the World Health Organization (WHO) is also expected in the near future to ship samples of the influenza A(H1N1) virus strain to Taiwan to be used to develop a swine flu vaccine.

The WHO samples of the virus are expected to be delivered by a WHO reference lab to Taiwan before the end of May, Shih added.

Last week, Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan said that if everything goes smoothly, a locally developed vaccine against the virus could be available to the Taiwanese public by September.

According to Yeh, the raw strain cannot be immediately used for production of a human flu vaccine but must first be inactivated before being developed into a vaccine. He added that "Taiwan will be able to produce some 200,000 doses of vaccine against the A(H1N1) flu virus in three months."

The vaccine will first be used to inoculate medical personnel, firefighters and immigration personnel, Yeh added.

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