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Harmless Virus May Help Fight Bird Flu

West Lafayette, Ind (UPI) Sep 14, 2005
Purdue University researchers say a harmless virus used as a delivery vehicle for vaccines might help prevent a pandemic of bird flu.

Purdue molecular virologist Suresh Mittal and colleagues are investigating a new way to provide immunity against avian influenza viruses, or bird flu. The most lethal strain, H5N1, has a 50-percent fatality rate in humans.

Under a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Purdue researchers are focusing on using adenovirus as a transmitting agent for a vaccine to fight such highly virulent strains of avian influenza.

A major advantage to using adenovirus is that it can be mass produced much more quickly than with current methods.

"The ultimate goal of our research is to develop an effective avian influenza virus vaccine that will provide long-lasting and broad immunity against multiple strains of this virus," Mittal said.

Less virulent bird flu may infect humans
Rome, Sept. 13 -- Italian researchers say they've determined, for the first time, a less-virulent strain of avian influenza virus might spread from poultry to humans.

Crossing the species barrier is an important step in the development of a flu virus with pandemic potential, the scientists noted. Previous studies have focused on the ability of highly pathogenic bird flu strains, such as H5N1 in Asia, spreading to humans.

The new study, however, shows less pathogenic strains are also capable of jumping to humans.

Isabella Donatelli of Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome and colleagues studied outbreaks in northern Italy occurring among poultry between 1999 and 2003.

The investigators said their work provides the first serologic evidence of transmission of low pathogenic strains of avian influenza virus to humans during an outbreak in domestic poultry.

The researchers emphasize their study probably underestimates the real infection rate because blood samples were considered positive only if they repeatedly produced unequivocal positive results using several different serologic techniques.

Details of the study appear in the Oct. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

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Drug Resistant Bird Flu In Southeast Asia
Memphis (UPI) Sep 12, 2005
Resistance to the anti-viral drug amantadine is spreading more rapidly among avian influenza viruses of H5N1 subtype in Southeast Asia than in North America.

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