Vaccine development is a focus area of the Chinese government and industry. In August 2012, a HIV vaccine developed by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and National Vaccine & Serum Institute (under China National Biotec Group and China National Pharmaceutical Group) entered phase II clinical trial in Beijing YouAn Hospital. It is the first vaccine using replicative live viral vectors to enter clinical trials .
End October 2012, the first Hepatitis E vaccine was launched on the Chinese market. The new vaccine, Hecolin, is the product of joined research and investment by Xiamen University National Institute of Diagnostics and Vaccine Development in Infectious Diseases and Xiamen Innovax (subsidiary company of Yangshengtang Group). Hecolin was approved after a phase III clinical trial in 2010 showing that it was highly effective in preventing infection among almost 100.000 healthy participants. The vaccine is based on a genetically modified strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli which produces a protein that stimulates the recipient’s immune system against Hepatitis E.
A recent breakthrough in hepatitis research came from the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing. The research team identified Sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP) as a functional receptor for human hepatitis B and D virus. Until now, the receptors on human liver cells which are involved in virus entry were unknown. The elucidation of entry mechanism is pivotal for the development of new prevention and intervention methods for hepatitis B and D.
- Yan H. et al. Sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide is a functional receptor for human hepatitis B and D virus. eLife, November 2012