Positive results reported for H1N1 vaccine

Vaccine developer Medicago reported some encouraging results on Wednesday from a phase one human trial for its plant-based seasonal influenza vaccine.

The phase one study was designed to investigate the safety and efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine and involved 100 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 49. Test subjects were given a placebo, Medicago’s H1N1 vaccine at varying dosages and another H1N1 vaccine, Proactive Investors reports.

Preliminary results show that 98 percent of subjects injected with the plant-based vaccine developed an immune response against H1N1 virus. A four-fold rise in antibodies was noted in 61 percent of subjects injected with dosages of 5ug, the lowest dose, which exceeded immunogenicity criteria.

"These positive clinical trial results are an important milestone as they continue to demonstrate that our rapid plant-based vaccine technology is both safe and effective," Andy Sheldon, president and CEO of Medicago, said, according to Proactive Investors.

Medicago said that the vaccine was well tolerated at all dosage levels, but  that it will continue to monitor adverse events for six months. The company uses virus-Like particles and plant-based manufacturing technologies to develop vaccines. The methods it has used have the potential to deliver a vaccine for testing in approximately one month’s time, which could potentially avoid the quick spread of a pandemic.

Medicago plans to carry-out phase two trials for its seasonal vaccine with the three recommended flu strains - H1N1, H3N2 and B.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 200,000 people are hospitalized and around 36,000 die from flu-related causes in the U.S. each year.