Bird Flu Alarm

2006-02-02-Cold virus link for bird flu vaccine

Understanding Avian Influenza

2006-02-02-Cold virus link for bird flu vaccine


Scientists have developed a vaccine against bird flu by genetically modifying a common cold virus.

The breakthrough could overcome the manufacturing capacity problems of other methods of producing vaccines to protect against the risk of a human pandemic threatening millions of lives caused by a mutation of the H5N1 avian influenza strain.

US researchers genetically engineered an adenovirus, a common cold virus, to produce a protein called haemugglutinin subtype 5 (H4HA) - a component of the H5N1 strain, the online edition of The Lancet medical journal reports.

Mice immunised with a vaccine made from the protein were protected from death and weight loss when infected with the H5N1 viruses isolated from people. But trials to see whether the vaccine is safe and effective in humans could take several years.

Understanding Avian Influenza