A new vaccine against a viral condition that infects an estimated 20 million of the world's residents every single year has been launched in China.
Named ‘Hecolin', it's reportedly the first ever Hepatitis E vaccine and its launch comes after the SFDA - China's State Food and Drug Administration - spent more than 12 months assessing the product.
Hepatitis E prevails in the majority of undeveloped nations, especially in those with warm climates. Rarely directly transmitted from person-to-person, it's typically spread through contaminated food and water supplies. China's been the scene of some especially bad hepatitis E outbreaks - 100,000 new cases emerged during the late 1980s alone - but, now, it's home to a product with the potential to significantly lower the global infection count.
Hecolin Hepatitis E Vaccine
The Hecolin hepatitis E vaccine market debut follows an extensive clinical trial, carried out for two years in Jiangsu Province. Some 90,000 thousand patients took part in this clinical trial, which was designed to verify the vaccine's safety and effectiveness.
According to information published by the Lancet medical journal, 50 per cent of the trial participants got given the vaccine, while the remainder got a placebo. The vaccine was administered three times in total - once at the trial's start, again one month after that and then, finally, a further five months thereafter.
One year after the final doses, 15 new hepatitis E infections were recorded among the placebo group but not a single one featured within those who had been vaccinated.
First Hepatitis E Vaccine
This first hepatitis E vaccine was developed by Xiamen Innovax which, on its website, states that the product's suitable for all at-risk subjects aged 16 or over.
Apparently 14 years in the making, Hecolin is said to be the result of cooperation between Chinese industries, universities, research organisations and the Government and it's protected by no less than 12 patents, both domestic and foreign.
Image copyright US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons