Sunday, October 07, 2007

What's New In Bird Flu Vaccine Development

There have been a few new developments in the production of the vaccine for the bird flu also known as avian flu (H5N1) virus over the last few months. In April the first vaccine in the United States for humans against the H5N1 influenza virus was approved by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) . The vaccine is manufactured by sanofi pasteur. It is not currently being sold commercially. It has however been purchased by the government to be included in the National Stockpile program to be distributed by health professionals if needed.

This vaccine was obtained from a human strain of the virus. It consists of 2 injections given one month apart. Forty five percent of the individuals injected with the 90 microgram dose of the antigen, the active ingredient of the vaccine, developed an antibody level that was sufficient to reduce the risk of developing the disease. It is assumed that those who developed a lower antibody level may still have some protection and a reduced level of severity of the disease in case of exposure.

A challenge in developing the vaccine has not only been to create an active vaccine, but also to be able to supply the large number of people who may require it in a short period of time. The production of the antigen is a slow process, and one of the difficulties has been to produce an adequate amount of the antigen to provide the large number of doses of the vaccine that may be needed in a pandemic while ensuring adequate antibody level production that will be protective. To solve this problem, many companies have been working on adding an additive, an adjuvant, to the vaccine that will help increase the immune system's response to a lower dose of the antigen.

Last month Sanofi announced that its new investigational H5N1 vaccine containing an adjuvant achieved a high immune response at the lowest dose of H5N1 antigen reported to date. The vaccine containing only 1.9 micrograms of antigen generated an immune response in over 70 percent of the participants in a clinical trial, and the vaccine containing 3.75 microgram of antigen generated a high level of immune response in over 80 percent of the participants. Preliminary data also show good cross-reactivity to a more recently circulating H5N1 strain.

This is an important development in the vaccine production. It may facilitate the production of billions of doses of the fully developed vaccine in a short time if needed in a pandemic situation.


omid said...

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afarin be shoma
salamat bashid

david hill said...

Human-to-Human Transmitted Avian Flu – We have to move from a Cure Strategy to a Prevention Strategy before it is too late

The strategy to prevent hundreds of millions of people dying across the globe from the Avian Flu pandemic is totally flawed. This reliance that governments around the world have placed on predominantly vaccination (cure) only is a decision that history will record as one of the most insane and insidious decisions that has ever been taken by our political leaders. This assertion is based upon the facts that the eventual human-to-human killer virus that will emerge will be a new strain due to the fact that viruses constantly mutate and that owing to the initial incubation period for bird flu to show its ugly face, the virus will have spread like wildfire across the world through millions travelling internationally on a daily basis. Indeed, the avian flu strain is 20 times more virulent than the 1917 Spanish flu that killed between 50 million and 100 million people, but where this time, literally hundreds of millions will literally perish with this ill thought out strategy by our political leaders and governments. What should have been undertaken is that this highly contagious disease should have been addressed at its source (prevention) and where history again will confirm this eventual conclusion. Unfortunately by then, this terrible event will have taken place. Governments should rethink therefore before it is too late and adopt predominantly a ‘field’ strategy, for this is the only strategy that will work and stop the unimaginable happening. Governments have been warned continuously, but where they do not wish to listen due to the powerful overtones delivered to our political leaders by the giant pharmaceuticals in their quest for profits (or selfish greed dependant on which point-of-view one wishes to take). One has to remember also that since 2003 the human mortality rate through the bird flu virus has been 62% and where only 38 people on average out of every hundred has survived. Overall therefore it has to be said that these vast profit-orientated pharmaceutical companies have not stopped any of these deaths through their highly expensive drugs and where things will be no different when the eventual pandemic arrives. It is hoped therefore that for the sake of humankind, that a major sea change takes place within the thinking of our political leaders in 2008, from one of cure to prevention, and before time literally runs out on us all. These are not fear factors but factors derived from pure logic and facts determined by some of the leading authoritive thinkers on the subject.

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
Bern, Switzerland
UK Postal Address: P O Box A60, Huddersfield,
HD1 1XJ, United Kingdom
UK Tel:0044(0)1484 537181
28th December 2007

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