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Sinovac climbs on late-stage vaccine study

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech Ltd. said Thursday that its experimental vaccine for hand, foot and mouth disease met its goal in a late-stage clinical trial.

Shares of Sinovac skyrocketed $1.69, or 53 percent, to $4.88 in morning trading.

The company said its vaccine EV71 was 95.4 percent effective in stopping infection caused by one strain of the virus in children between 6 and 35 months old. Serious side effects occurred in 2.2 percent of patients, a rate that was similar to placebo. Most of the side effects were not considered vaccine-related.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is common, especially in children under the age of five. The illness typically brings a low fever, rash, and sores on the hands, feet and mouth. China sees deadly outbreaks disease every spring and summer, particularly in rural areas where hygiene is poor. Sinovac said more than 1 million cases have been identified over the last five years, and over that time 500 to 900 people have died of the disease each year.

Around 10,000 children were enrolled In the trial in early 2012, before the start of the epidemic season. They received two shots four weeks apart.