The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced on Monday that it will pursue the production of vaccine against the H7N9 avian flu virus that is still spreading across China. The ministry aims to develop the vaccine as soon as possible before the virus mutates and imposes further risk to humans.
A virus strain imported by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases from Britain will be used in producing the vaccine, which is expected to be available by early next year. Clinical tests on animals will first be performed before making the vaccine available for human use. The ministry is now in collaboration with a manufacturing company that will develop the vaccine beginning this month.
Although there is no human to human transfer of the H7N9 flu virus reported as of now, scientists warn of possible mutation and a widespread that may lead to a pandemic crisis. As early as of March this year, China had been hit with the avian influenza virus. With Taiwan included, 135 people have already caught the virus. Among those infected, 44 people already died. No Japanese national has been reported to have been infected with the virus.
Back in April, the Japanese Government was already making preparations on how to protect its people from the virus. The health ministry has also listed measures of interventions should the country face the infection from the avian virus. Isolation measures will also be imposed should an outbreak occur.
[ via Jiji Press ]