Japan to attempt H7N9 flu vaccine


A vaccine for the H7N9 strain of avian influenza will be produced in light of the human infections reported in China, a panel at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry decided Monday.

The cooperation of vaccine makers will be sought to produce the vaccine, which is to be based on a strain produced by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. Work may start as early as this month.

A decision by the ministry on whether to conduct clinical trials on humans will follow the results of animal testing.

The difficulty of making a vaccine that provides immunity against H7 type flu viruses means the completion time cannot be predicted, ministry officials said.

No human-to-human spread of H7N9 flu has been confirmed so far, but experts warn that genetic mutations could increase transmissions among humans and generate a pandemic.