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Published on 23 August 2010

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Trial backs hepatitis E vaccine


A major trial in the Far East has indicated an experimental vaccine to protect people against hepatitis E is safe and effective.

The disease, which is contained in faeces and transmitted via contaminated food and water, can cause severe illness in elderly people and has a mortality rate of 1 to 3%.

It is also particularly dangerous for pregnant women, with 5 to 25% of those infected dying, and survivors suffering high rates of miscarriage.

A phase III trial in China saw half of the 97,356 healthy participants administered the vaccine, which is manufactured by Xiamen Innovax Biotech, and half a placebo, with follow-up doses given after one-month and six-month intervals.

In a paper published in The Lancet, researchers said a year after the final dose, 15 members of the control group were found to be infected with hepatitis E, with none of the vaccine group affected.

Copyright Press Association 2010

The Lancet study

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