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Six weeks after receiving their first samples of the A/H1N1 swine flu virus, two China biotechs have begun clinical trials of vaccines for the potentially fatal version of flu. Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (NASDAQ:SVA) and Hualan Biological Engineering will each test their vaccines in about 2,000 volunteers, a process that will take about two months. Both companies say they expect to announce results in September.

Sinovac will test three variants of their Panflu vaccine in 1,600 healthy individuals. The three arms of the trial are: Split viron vaccine, split viron vaccine with adjuvant, and whole viron vaccine with adjuvant. Dosage will range from 5ug to 30ug. All patients will receive their first inoculation this week, and most will be given a second shot at 21 days.

In Taizhou in eastern Jiangsu Province, over 2,000 volunteers were recruited for the trial of a Hualan Biological Engineering's vaccine. After Hualan received seed virus of the A/H1N1 strain on June 3, it had 90,000 doses ready by June 22.

The Hualan trial will also be a dose ranging study that seeks to optimize the inoculation procedures for the vaccine. Volunteers were divided into five age groups, and they will be given a second round at the 21-day mark. Four antibody tests will be administered over the two months.

Hualan Biological Engineering expects a daily capacity for the vaccine of 600,000 doses.

In mainland China, there have been 1,772 cases of A/H1N1 flu diagnosed, though no one has died from the disease in China to date. 1,454 of the cases have recovered and been discharged from the hospital

Two Australian pharmaceutical companies, Vaxine and CSL, have also begun clinical tests of swine flu vaccines. Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, it is in the middle of its winter flu season. News stories have reported that swine flu or its complications are listed as the cause of death for 41 people in Australia. The time line for testing and production of an Australian vaccine is similar to those in China.

See our other articles on Sinovac.

Disclosure: None.

Source: Sinovac Testing Swine Flu Vaccine