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World's 1st Swine Flu Vaccine Trials Start in Australia
Date:7/22/2009

Results won't be known for about six weeks, manufacturers say,,

WEDNESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Two Australian biotechnology companies have started inoculating adult volunteers in the world's first H1N1 swine flu vaccine trials, with the hope of producing an effective shot against the virus that has so far killed more than 700 people worldwide.

Adelaide-based Vaxine initiated trials Monday with 300 participants, while Melbourne's CSL has 240 people in its seven-month study. Australia had 14,703 confirmed cases of swine flu as of Wednesday, and at least 41 deaths, according to the Associated Press. The winter flu season is well under way in the Southern Hemisphere.

"We're right in the middle of a surge of swine flu cases where perhaps the United States won't have to worry about it as much until their flu season hits in six months," Vaxine research director Nikolai Petrovsky told the AP.

But Petrovsky told BBC News that there "is no guarantee any of these vaccines will work. Swine flu is a very peculiar beast, it's a very different virus that we're dealing with. But we are hopeful."

Both companies said it would be at least six weeks before results of the initial trials are known.

"We have a specific vaccine that we believe will be able to protect millions of people against this new H1N1 flu," Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL's director of research and development, told reporters. He called swine flu "a novel strain of influenza" and said the trial would determine the dose and schedule of the vaccination, the AP reported.

As was the case when the H1N1 swine flu virus first surfaced in Mexico and then the United States in mid-April, infections in the Southern Hemisphere continue to be relatively mild, much like the seasonal flu, and recovery is fairly quick.

U.S. health officials said last Friday that development of a vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu is on
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