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Avian Influenza Human Vaccine Developments

Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017 1:54 PM EDT
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H5N1 Avian Influenza, Bird Flu. Some developments for a human vaccine.

On August 6, 2005, government scientists at UNIAID, (US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), announced results from the first clinical trials of a vaccine being developed to protect humans against H5N1 avian influenza ( bird Flu ). Preliminary tests show that the experimental vaccine evoked an immune response in a small group of healthy adults.

Although more tests are needed, this is at least a good sign that developing a H5N1 specific vaccine is possible.

Currently it is believed that the next pandemic will be caused by the H5N1, Avian Influenza ( bird flu ) virus. The increasing spread of the H5N1 virus, especially in asia, have brought the world much closer to to another pandemic then at any time since 1968, when the last of the 1900's three pandemics began.

Vaccines are the main ammunition in the fight against pandemic influenzas, especially ones of the Avian Influenza (bird flu) type. If available to the public in a timely manner and in great enough quanities they can reduce the morbidity and mortality that have traditionally made pandemics such socially disruptive as well as deadly events.

However many obstacles need to be overcome before vaccines can even help alleviate some of the effects of the next pandemic.One of, if not the most important is to find vaccine formulations that make the greatest use of the limited supply of antigens we have.

Antigen is the component of the vaccine that elicits an immune response. The US trial provides important insight into possible vaccine formulations. It used doses that are higher than the amount of virus antigen contained in influenza vaccines produced yearly for normal seasonal epidemics.

Strategies for stretching limited antigen supplies

By adding an adjuvant to the vaccine formulation or injecting the vaccine into the skin rather than into muscle, have been proposed. Adjuvants are chemicals that can be added to the vaccine formulation to boost the immune response, theoretically allowing the use of smaller doses of antigen to achieve an immune response. Such antigen-sparing strategies using adjuvants are currently being tested by several manufacturers, and preliminary results are expected within the next three months.

At present, 90% of production capacity for all influenza vaccines is concentrated in Europe and North America in countries that account for only 10% of the world’s population. Current global manufacturing capacity (estimated at 300 million doses of regular trivalent influenza vaccine per year) is inadequate to meet the expected global needs during a pandemic and cannot be rapidly augmented.

Influenza pandemics are unique infectious disease events that can spread to every country in the world within months, resulting in a high and universal demand for preventive and treatment measures. Pandemics thus throw into sharp relief inequities in global access to vaccines and other medical interventions during an emergency. Based on past experience, countries with local manufacturing capacity are likely to meet domestic demand for vaccines and other critical resources fully before freeing supplies for the export market.

Because the present total global manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccine is limited, any decision to manufacture a pandemic vaccine in large quantities prior to the start of a pandemic would, of necessity, compromise the capacity to produce vaccines for seasonal influenza. Seasonal epidemics of influenza predictably cause an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year. In the current situation, the capacity to respond to seasonal influenza must be balanced against preparations for pandemic influenza. However, once a pandemic has been declared, all manufacturers would stop production of seasonal vaccines and produce only the pandemic vaccine.

Avian Influenza, Bird flu preparedness

In a nutshell this means that the world as a whole needs to prepare as if a pandemic was just around the corner. While H5N1, Avian influenza ( Bird Flu) may be the current worry in regards to a pandemic, it will not be the least or the last.

This article was adapted from articles from the World Health Organization as well as medical texts available on the web
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24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
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21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
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21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
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20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
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20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
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15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
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14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
Free-range egg producer welcomes lifting of bird flu restrictions in time for...
14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Wyre farmer says her hens are 'scared stiff' after bird flu captivity - Lanca...
13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
Wyre farmer says her hens are 'scared stiff' after bird flu captivity - Lanca...
13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am