Road closure delays tours
The travel itineraries of about 150 Chinese tour groups were delayed yesterday following damage to the Suhua Highway, which leads to major scenic spots on the east coast, the Tourism Bureau said. The road closure, which was necessitated by damage to a tunnel at the highway’s 169.9km mark caused by falling rocks a day earlier, affected the travel plans of an estimated 3,600 Chinese, a bureau official said. It was the second forced closure this year for the accident-prone Suhua Highway because of weather damage. The highway is scheduled to reopen tomorrow. In the wake of an accident in 2010 when landslides triggered by Typhoon Megi killed 26 people, including 19 Chinese tourists, the highway is currently being upgraded.
Vaccines to be tested
Government agencies involved in a major national research program signed a letter of intent on cooperation with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) yesterday to launch large-scale clinical trials of several vaccines. The two sides said that the clinical tests are to involve a quadrivalent vaccine against influenza, a lung cancer vaccine that is expected to hit the market in 2016, and the world’s first tuberculosis vaccine. GSK has more than 150 clinical trials ongoing around the world. Tests in Taiwan targeting rare diseases, vaccines, drugs for respiratory tract disease and cancer account for 13 percent of them. Progress in the quadrivalent flu vaccine has been the fastest, said Huang Li-min (黃立民), director of the department of pediatric infectious diseases at National Taiwan University Hospital. He added that the quadrivalent vaccine refers to two type-A influenza viruses — H3N2 and H1N1 — and two type-B viruses — the Victoria and Yamagata strains.