Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Avian Flu Vaccine Offers Hope Coupled With Questions

ABC News: TUESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) — While initial testing of an avian flu vaccine shows promise and trials should be completed by the end of the year, questions remain about the vaccine's ability to protect large numbers of people, U.S. researchers say.

Among the potential problems: The vaccine dose needs to be much higher than that given for other types of flu, according to Dr. John Treanor, a professor of medicine and associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry...

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Anonymous said...

Bird flu vaccine 'may not work'

A VACCINE for a mass inoculation against bird flu could be ineffective by the time it comes into production, Health Minister Tony Abbott says.

The Federal Government is considering vaccinating every Australian against bird flu under a national program if trials on a new vaccine are successful.

Tests on the vaccine, being developed by research company CSL, should be finished by the end of the year.

But with the possibility of the bird flu virus mutating quickly, Mr Abbott is warning people not to put too much faith in the possibility or effectiveness of a mass vaccination campaign.

"That's why people shouldn't get too excited about a mass vaccination campaign," he said on Channel 9.

"People should be conscious of all the qualifiers that I have put on the possibility of a mass vaccination campaign."

There was a long way to go before any vaccination campaign could be implemented, the minister said.

"The CSL trial has got to be successful, then any candidate vaccine has got to prove to be free of significant side effects and get registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration," Mr Abbott said.

"We then have to have mass production, that would require obviously a government decision.

"And finally we would have to have a pandemic imminent before a mass vaccination campaign would take place.

"There's quite a lot of 'ifs' before we get to that point."

Australia has begun stockpiling doses of the anti-viral drugs Relenza and Tamiflu, but Mr Abbott played down reports that Tamiflu may already be redundant in fighting bird flu.

"We don't know that at all. There's simply been one report of one piece of evidence of resistance in one place," he said.

"We are as confident as we can be about these things, that the Tamiflu anti-viral stockpile will be effective against any pandemic flu outbreak."

Mr Abbott said Australia was a world leader in its preparation for a possible bird flu pandemic and had been working on the issue for 18 months.

"Our preparations, while far from complete, are better than just about any other country in the world," he said.

Further tests are being carried out in Greece on a turkey detected with bird flu, to establish if it was infected with the deadly strain of the virus found in Turkey and Romania.

If confirmed as the H5N1 strain that has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, it would be the first case of a bird with the virus in the European Union.