New Marine Based Natural Health Care Ingredient Has Potential To Enhance Immune Support Offered by Flu Vaccines

-Preliminary data indicates that immune modification may further reduce flu incidence and allow easier and earlier detection of more threatening conditions-

Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 15, 2003 -- In early September, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended influenza vaccination in high-risk groups and health workers caring for them, in order to reduce the number of pneumonia cases which could be confused with SARS..

The flu vaccine is quite effective - In elderly persons cared for in institutions, it prevents 80% of deaths, 50-60% of hospitalizations or pneumonia and 30-40% of influenza illnesses. (1) Raising these numbers by increasing effectiveness of the vaccines is a strategy that could potentially help people avoid the risks and inconvenience associated with influenza and ease the burden on the health care system .

This is the strategy behind a new natural dietary supplement ingredient called Respondin™, which will be available for consumers in early 2004.

RespondinÔ belongs to a novel category of natural ingredients called Immune Response Modifiers ( IRM's) which are characterized by their ability to boost weak immune systems in times of immune stress, such as during influenza or the common cold. IRM's can also calm overactive immune systems during conditions like allergy when the immune system is hyperactive.

In a recent clinical trial, RespondinÔ demonstrated biologic activity in elevating antibody levels associated with the influenza vaccine. The study (double-blind, placebo controlled trial) was conducted by Dr Scott Halperin, a researcher from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, (2).The paper reports , "We have demonstrated an immuno-enhancing effect in a subset of human subjects after influenza vaccination, which corroborates the results of in vivo and in vitro preclinical studies... The supplement could potentially be used as an oral adjuvant”

RespondinÔ is the patented carbohydrate fraction from a unique strain of green microalgae-- Chlorella pyrendoidosa. It has been developed by the research efforts of Ocean Nutrition Canada ( ONC ), a biotechnology company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia which focuses on identification, research and marketing naturally occurring marine based ingredients to improve human health.

"A natural ingredient with the capability to reduce one's risk of contracting a flu infection, or to reduce the duration and severity of an already existing infection is extremely compelling." noted Dr. Colin Barrow, Executive Director of Research and Development at Ocean Nutrition Canada."

"RespondinÔ should be available for consumers in early 2004", ONC President Robert Orr stated. " We are currently seeking collaborations with strong marketing partners to help bring RespondinÔ to the North American and global markets as quickly as possible". With its potential for supporting the immune system for both influenza and allergies, RespondinÔ may be thought of as a natural ingredient for all season immune support."

About Ocean Nutrition Canada

Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd.(ONC) ( is a rapidly expanding nutritional biotechnology company built on a foundation of science and proprietary product technology creating "Natural Health from the Sea". ONC, founded in 1997, is a leading innovator and supplier of the finest quality marine-based nutritional ingredients to the global natural products and functional food markets. ONC operates the largest, most sophisticated, privately held R&D facility for marine natural products in Canada, with primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of clinically validated marine ingredients. ONC is also the largest producer of concentrated omega~3 Essential fish oils in North America. Inquires may be directed to Nadine Mackay at [email protected].


(1) World Health Organization, September 2, 2003.

(2) CMAJ JULY 22, 2003; 169

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