Bird Flu Alarm

Understanding Avian Influenza

Why isn't there a vaccine yet?

Producing a vaccine is difficult.  Any vaccine produced needs to closely match the pandemic virus, and that virus will be a mutation from the current strains of H5N1.  Viruses are known for their mutations.  Even with the production of a vaccine specifically tailored to a pandemic virus, further mutations could make such a vaccine ineffective.  Vaccines that are produced for seasonal influenza will not protect against a bird flu pandemic influenza.

Many countries are working to develop a vaccine for H5N1, but none is yet proven effective for humans.  Moreover, even if such a vaccine becomes available, it will not be ready for commercial production until several months after the start of a pandemic.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), current global production capacity falls far short of the amount of vaccine that would be needed to deal with a pandemic.

Understanding Avian Influenza