Novartis has presented results from a pilot trial that suggest its adjuvanted cell culture-based influenza A (H1N1) vaccine elicited “a strong immune response and was well tolerated”, even after a single dose.

In the UK trial, the vaccine, which will be called Celtura, was tested with 100 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 50. The data show that serum antibody responses were highest among those given two doses of the vaccine, more than 90%, while a single dose also induced the desired response in 80% of subjects.

Novartis said that these findings “would satisfy the immunogenicity criteria as set out by European and US regulators”. Additional clinical trials are already under way, which include more than 6,000 adults and children.

Andrin Oswald, chief executive of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics unit, noted that while the study suggests that while two doses seem to provide better protection, “one dose of our adjuvanted Celtura vaccine may be sufficient to protect adults against the swine flu”. He said that this is “important information for public health authorities who prepare for vaccination in the coming months with limited vaccine supply”.

Meantime, China’s Sinovac has announced that the country’s State Food and Drug Administration has approved the company’s swine flu vaccine Panflu.1 and issued a production licence. The Beijing-based company said that the vaccine was recently evaluated by SFDA experts who “unanimously agreed” that the jab is suitable for the immunisation of people aged three to 60.

Sinovac noted that Panflu.1 will be administered “on a single shot vaccination schedule”. The company also revealed that it has signed an agreement with Boryung Pharmaceutical Co “to collaborate on marketing efforts and possible vaccine supply efforts to the government of South Korea” for the H1N1 vaccine.