Mass production of prophylactic vaccine for bird flu virus

Indonesia’s Research and Technology Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said on Thursday the country’s state- run medicine firm PT Bio Farma will commence mass production of prophylactic vaccine for the bird flu virus by 2013, local media reported.

“We are glad for this breakthrough. The bird flu vaccine will soon be produced on a large scale,” he said in Makassar South Sulawesi.

Gusti said tests on the bird flu vaccine for infants and elementary school-aged children have been carried out.

“We know that every year a minimum of 5-7 million vaccines for infants and school-age children are purchased from abroad, which costs the country a lot. Therefore, we have been constantly making efforts for the vaccine to be produced in the country,” he said, quoted by the Antara news agency.

The ministry has also established a consortium of research centers, which are focusing on developing vaccines against hepatitis B and C, he added.

The production of the locally-made bird flu vaccine resulted from good coordination between seven agencies under the ministry’s supervision, the minister said, adding that the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the National Nuclear Energy Agency were also provided much assistance towards the production of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, a senior official at the health ministry said on Thursday that an eight-year-old girl died from bird flu on Tuesday.

The girl from Karawang, West Java, often walked past the market ‘s live stock and bird pens on her way to school, said Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general of disease control and environmental health at the ministry.

Tjandra said that the girl, identified as “K.K.”, brought home a clutch of freshly killed chicken from the market with her father on June 12.

She became ill six days later on a trip to Singapore. A doctor there diagnosed the girl with laryngitis, Tjandra said.

But by June 24, the sickness intensified and K.K. was admitted to a Jakarta hospital with a high fever, a persistent cough and nausea. Doctors there said the girl showed signs of pneumonia.

“Her condition got worse and on July 3, 2012, at 22.45 she died,” Tjandra said.

The Health Ministry said that K.K. likely contracted avian influenza during her trip to the Karawang market.

“She was in contact with (live) poultry,” Tjandra said. “She went to the market with her father and sibling and bought five live animals. She chose to hold the chickens after they have been killed.”

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