Vaccine against hepatitis E soon:

[India News]: New Delhi, Feb 20 : Vaccine against hepatitis E virus, the most common cause of viral hepatitis in adults in India, may soon be possible with several samples being developed worldwide while one by US scientists has shown high degree of efficacy during trials, a researcher said here.

Successful vaccines for prevention of hepatitis A and hepatitis B, the two of her important pathogens found in developing countries, have been developed and licensed and both have had an impact on the incidence of viral hepatitis when used appropriately, Robert H Purcell from the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, US' National Institutes of Health (NIH) told a symposium on viral hepatitis.

"There is also need for A vaccine against hepatitis E. Candidate vaccines have been developed by expressing truncated forms of the virus coat proteins in bacteria or insect cells," he said. These vaccines use "highly conserved and highly imunogenic" region "ORF2" of virus.

"One recombinant hepatitis E vaccine has been developed by our laboratory. It has successfully completed pre-clinical trials in rhesus monkeys," he said.

It has advanced through phase II/II clinical trials and tested for efficacy by the US army in a field trial in Nepal, he said, adding the pre-clinical trials demonstrated that the vaccine has 100 per cent efficacy in monkeys. The results of the human clinical trials have not been disclosed yet and are being analysed. But preliminary evidence suggests a high degree of efficacy for this vaccine, he said.