Bird Flu :: China, US scientists develop new bird flu vaccine virus

Chinese and American scientists have developed a new H5N1 vaccine virus for researchers and companies that want to develop or produce the H5N1 bird flu vaccine for human use, a senior Chinese health official has announced.

The new vaccine virus was developed by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with their counterparts from the US from cases of human infections of the deadly virus in southern China, Shu Yuelong, a senior official with the Chinese CDC said.

Researchers found that a newly isolated virus collected from people infected with H5N1 strain of bird flu in southern China was distinguishable in terms of antigen from the viruses that had previously been selected for vaccine development, Shu said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has put the new development on its Web site and said it is available for “institutions, companies and others interested in pandemic vaccine development.” The cases of human infection with bird flu in China numbered 13 in 2006, and seven in 2005. China has reported at least 14 deaths from the H5N1 infection in humans.

In August 2006, the WHO found that there was antigenic variation among the recent H5N1 viruses. Since then, the WHO Collaborating Centres and H5 Reference Laboratories have been developing several new recombinant H5N1 vaccine viruses.

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