Bird Flu Alarm

Understanding Avian Influenza

Has a vaccine been developed against the virus yet?

Yes, clinical trials of a Vietnam strain of H5N1 human vaccine have demonstrated safety and efficacy. Further work is required to determine the proper dosing and potential boosting of adjuvants.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has placed an initial order for this vaccine and stands ready to order more once it is available.

It remains to be seen, however, whether this vaccine will be effective against other H5N1 strains currently circulating, let alone against a pandemic strain that has undergone genetic change from the currently circulating virus.

Once a new pandemic virus has emerged, large-scale production can begin of a more specific pandemic vaccine. Supplies sufficient to significantly impact a rolling pandemic may not be available for at least six months.

Although the current global production capacity is inadequate for the expected vaccine needs, alternate and more efficient technologies for vaccine development are being vigorously pursued.

Understanding Avian Influenza