China approves first norovirus vaccine for clinical trial
Chinese authorities have greenlighted clinical trial for the world's first tetravalent vaccine against norovirus, the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis.
The vaccine received the clinical research permit from the National Medical Products Administration on May 30, its major developer, the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai (IPS) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced at a press conference Tuesday.
As the No. 1 cause of acute viral gastroenteritis, the highly contagious and sometimes deadly norovirus infects about 685 million people worldwide each year and has increasingly emerged as a public health issue in China.
The vaccine, after four years of development, can theoretically prevent 80 to 90 percent of norovirus infections also known as "stomach flu," said Huang Zhong, who leads the project at IPS.
The clinical trial is expected to test its safety and effectiveness over five years before it can apply for new drug registration.
The vaccine is jointly developed by the IPS and Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
(Cover: Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis. /VCG Photo)