Bird Flu Vaccine Wins Approval

April 18, 2007 05:15 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the first human vaccine for avian flu, but the effectiveness of the drug is only partial.

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Manufactured by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi–Aventis, the new drug produces an immune response to the flu virus in about 45% of test subjects.

The FDA conclusion was that two injections, given 28 days apart, might provide “limited” protection in the event of a global epidemic, known as a pandemic.

To date, there have been 291 confirmed infections involving the avian flu virus H5N1. A total of 172 infected people died.

In its present form, the virus cannot jump from person to person, and finds it hard to make the leap from bird to human. However, researchers believe it could mutate, perhaps by combining with a human flu virus, to become more readily communicable. Some researchers believe that the resulting virus would be highly virulent and likely to spread across the globe quickly.

The U.S. government has already bought enough doses of the Sanofi vaccine to inoculate 6.5 million people. The drug will not be commercially available.



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