Cuban HB vaccine undergoes trials in eight countries

Havana, Oct 23 (IANS) A new Cuban vaccine for hepatitis B is undergoing clinical trials in seven Asian countries apart from Cuba, the media reported on Friday.

The seven countries are Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, China, the Philippines and Thailand, Xinhua quoted Iris Lugo, a specialist from the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), which developed the vaccine, as saying on Thursday.

The vaccine, HeberNasvac, prevents the progression of the disease or keeps it under control for a longer time, causes fewer adverse reactions, according to the CIGB. The treatment period is shorter, not exceeding 20 weeks.

Moreover, clinical trials have shown that the vaccine has greater antiviral efficacy than other applied conventional drugs.

Within a few months, Lugo said, the drug is expected to obtain the sanitary registration granted by the Centre for State Control of Drugs and Medical Devices, allowing it to be used in Cuba in 2016.

The scientist said some foreign companies have shown interest in its marketing, including French company Abivax, which has involved with the development of the new vaccine.

According to the World Health Organization, about one million people die each year from diseases related to the hepatitis B virus, which also continues to be the main risk factor for liver cancer and other serious complications, including esophageal varices.

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