TORONTO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Generex Biotechnology said Monday it would begin the first human trial of its avian flu vaccine in Lebanon.
The Canadian firm said it has entered into a deal with the Beirut-based Lebanese-Canadian Hospital to conduct a clinical trial of the synthetic vaccine developed by Generex subsidiary Antigen Express.
The egg-based avian-flu vaccine is based on simple peptide-synthesis technology and as such can be made quickly, easily and cheaply, Generex said.
In contrast, traditional egg-based vaccines rely on biological systems for vaccine production, limiting their availability to treat at-risk populations during a pandemic, the company noted.
Preclinical data on the vaccine suggest that it may be used with traditional vaccines to extend their utility, as well as to prevent mortality associated with H5N1 infection when used alone, Generex said.
The vaccine is made up of specific fragments of the H5 protein taken from the H5N1 avian-flu virus that have been modified to enhance their potency in stimulating CD4(plus) T helper cells, which are critical for strong immune response against the flu virus.