Pre-pandemic Vaccine Promising Against Multiple Strains of H5N1

GlaxoSmithKline said today that new clinical trial data show for the first time that its pre-pandemic split antigen H5N1 vaccine "provides a substantial level of cross-immunity" against a drifted (diverse) strain of H5N1. The London-based health company said it hopes the immune response prompted by the vaccine could help prime an individual's immune system to rapidly respond against variants of the H5N1 strain, thus shielding the vaccinated population in an H5N1 human pandemic.

The data was presented in the first study at the IX International Symposium on Respiratory Viral Infections. GSK also said its proprietary adjuvant system means vaccine manufacturing capacity could be increased more than tenfold because only two doses of vaccine appeared to be effective. "The vaccine was shown to have an acceptable safety profile when compared to the control group. As expected, reactogenicity (injection site tenderness) was slightly higher in the vaccine group due to the use of the adjuvant system," it said in an online news release.

"I am extremely encouraged by the new trial data that has been reported today on GSK's candidate pre-pandemic influenza vaccine," said Jean Stéphenne, president of GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, the vaccine division of GSK. "The data confirm that our pre-pandemic influenza vaccine has the ability to recognize and kill an H5N1 strain that is different to the one contained in the vaccine. This means that proactive administration of our pre-pandemic vaccine before or just after the start of the pandemic could help to substantially slow down the spread of disease." For more information, visit www.glaxosmithkline.com.

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