A Hungarian vaccine against the deadly bird flu has definitely proved to be effective, final results from tests on humans showed, Hungary’s health minister Jeno Racz told local news agency MTI on Friday.
“Now it’s definitely proved that the vaccine is effective (on humans)... based on our data, the vaccine is 100 percent effective,” Racz was quoted as saying.
Hungary’s government announced on Wednesday that initial human tests proved promising on the vaccine, which is applicable for the deadly H5N1 form of the virus.
The government also said that the United States, Britain and Russia had expressed interest in the vaccine, while other countries interested in buying the vaccine include Indonesia, Ukraine, the Philippines and Mongolia.
The vaccine was tested on around 100 volunteers including Hungary’s health minister in late September.
Although the vaccine against the current H5N1 strain can stimulate an immune response in healthy adults, no one knows if it will work against a pandemic flu which has not emerged yet.
The H5N1 strain has killed more than 60 people in Asia over the past two years and is now creeping into Europe and towards Africa. There are fears that it could mutate and start being spread from person to person, potentially setting off a human pandemic.
Hungary says it could eventually produce 500,000 vaccines a week, and that it would require 3.5 million doses for its population of 10 million. It could later raise production to tens of millions if needed for export.
The vaccine’s development, carried out by Hungary’s national epidemiology center and private company Omninvest, would have to be restarted if a virus strain other than H5N1 were to infect humans.