reported positive preliminary results from early trials of its experimental avian flu vaccine.
Early safety and efficacy data on the vaccine, which targets the deadly H5N1 strain of the avian flu, show that the injection was well tolerated in humans. Side effects were similar to those occurring with traditional seasonal flu shots, including injection-site reactions, headaches and fatigue.
The preliminary results also suggest that the vaccine helps the body produce antibodies to fight the virus even at the lowest dose level tested, the company reported. The vaccine appeared to neutralize the virus in strains found in Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
"If confirmed in phase III results, the suggested safety and immunogenicity of this cell-culture derived whole-virus vaccine indicate its potential to make a major contribution to public health in preparing for and combating an influenza pandemic situation," said Dr. Frank von Sonnenburg, a University of Munich physician who led the monitoring board for the trial.
Despite the positive news, Baxter's shares fell 1.2% to $44.70 Wednesday.