The first pilot trial of Novartis‘ investigative A(H1N1) swine flu vaccine Celtura elicited a strong immune response among patients and was well tolerated.

The trial, run by the UK’s University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester, tested the Celtura vaccine on 100 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 50.

Results showed that the serum antibody responses were highest among subjects who received two doses of vaccine; however a single vaccine dose was also shown to boost protection against influenza.

The results established that it is possible to induce protective antibodies against A(H1N1) infection within two weeks of administration of a single low-dose adjuvanted vaccine.

Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics CEO Dr Andrin Oswald said that the study suggests that while two doses seem to provide better protection, one dose of the adjuvanted Celtura vaccine may be sufficient to protect adults against the swine flu.

“This is important information for public health authorities who prepare for vaccination in the coming months with limited vaccine supply,” Oswald said.

Additional large-scale clinical trials conducted by Novartis are underway in more than 6,000 adults and children.