A three-in-one vaccine for enterovirus, influenza and Japanese encephalitis has been developed by the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), but it still has to pass clinical trials before it can be manufactured for the public.
If the vaccine passes the trials and is certified by the government, children younger than five years old might be spared from receiving several vaccinations to prevent infections of avian influenza virus H5N1, enterovirus 71 and Japanese encephalitis, researchers said.
A report on the development of the vaccine was presented by Huang Ming-hsi (黃明熙), an associate fellow researcher at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, at a biomedical investment seminar last week.
Huang said there is no enterovirus vaccine certified for use in the nation, only a vaccine that is still in clinical trials, and while there have been no reported cases of H5N1 infection in Taiwan, its high mortality rate poses a health risk to the public.
Additionally, children must receive four injections for a complete Japanese encephalitis vaccination, he added.
Simply mixing the vaccines of the three types of viruses would reduce their effectiveness, so the NHRI has developed a new delivery system that mixes the inactivated virus, but avoids antigen interference that reduces effectiveness.
While the new vaccine has only undergone animal testing, Huang said the researchers “used mice as our experimental subject and observed that effectiveness reached greater than 90 percent” in targeted antibody levels induced by the vaccine.
Huang said the vaccine still needs to go through clinical trials before the NHRI can apply for government approval for use in humans.
However, National Taiwan University Hospital pediatrician Huang Li-min (黃立民) said that the recommended vaccination schedule for the three diseases is different, so putting them together into one vaccine might not be appropriate for clinical use.
Influenza viruses constantly change, so the vaccine might not be effective in preventing against the next influenza outbreak, he added.
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