Bird Flu Good news at last!

There has been a new step forward in the development of an effective vaccine against H5N1, the bird flu virus that’s also dangerous to humans.
By adding an agent that stimulates the immune system, it appears that the existing vaccine is effective against various strains of the bird flu virus.

Uncertainty has been the biggest problem in developing an effective vaccine against the variant of H5N1 that’s dangerous to humans.

Uncertainty about which strain of the virus it is, and uncertainty over which type of bird flu could develop into a flu virus that might cause a worldwide epidemic. That made it almost impossible to develop a preventative vaccine.
But with the discovery made by the British pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Klein, uncertainty over the virus strain has become less significant.
Breakthrough
The improved vaccine has been tested by Viro-Clinics, part of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam.
According to virologist Ab Osterhaus, there are several reasons to speak of a breakthrough:
“The vaccine protects against different variants of the H5N1 virus, including new strains.” Professor Ab OsterhausAccording to the virologist, that’s unique.“We have always had to react after the event, but now we can produce a vaccine that offers protection against new and forthcoming variants of the same virus.”What’s more, tests have shown that by adding the agent, a lot less vaccine is required. And that’s very important during a worldwide flu epidemic, when huge quantities of vaccine are needed.

The agent is a so-called adjuvant that is added to a medicine to strengthen its effectiveness.

In this case, the substance stimulates the immune system and improves the response to the vaccine.

The Erasmus Medical Centre tested the agent on people and on ferrets which, like people, suffer from flu viruses.

 Osterhaus explained the results: “The humans appeared to have a relatively broad immune response.

The ferrets were first vaccinated, then exposed to H5N1, and there too we witnessed a demonstrably broad protection against the virus.”

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2 Responses

  1. Hey BFNF,

    Where are you? I have been waiting for my weekly dose of BFNF, but to no avail. Are you on holiday?

  2. Hi Victoria!

    I am so sorry but I have been working on a few very interesting new web projects and just could not get the time to update this little blog 🙂

    What a start for the year though!

    I think I will post about that now.

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