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. Initial Human Trials Of Bird Flu Vaccine In Russia A Success

The vaccine is likely to be given mainly to people in high-risk groups, including poultry farm workers, hunters and veterinary workers.
by Staff Writers
St Petersburg (RIA Novosti) Sep 26, 2006
The first Russian trials of a human vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu virus was a success, a Russian research institute member said Monday. Marina Yerofeyeva, a lab head at a research center specializing in flu viruses, said three of the six tested versions of the vaccine proved successful, and researchers will now select the most appropriate one.

"There will be two assessment criteria," Yerofeyeva said. "The first is vaccine safety, i.e. volunteers' response to a vaccine in question. The other criterion is the number of immune bodies a vaccine produces in volunteers' blood tests."

Three versions of two types of the vaccine were tested on six groups comprising 20 volunteers each, and none of the volunteers complained of complications or serious disorders after they were injected with the serum, Yerofeyeva said.

Yerofeyeva said two or three vaccine versions will be tested on larger volunteer groups of about 100 people in the next stage of the effort against the disease. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form transmissible between humans, sparking a global pandemic.

The disease has spread worldwide since it was first spotted in Asia in 2003, and has claimed dozens of human lives. No human fatalities have been reported in Russia.

This year, an epidemic of the deadly virus broke out in five Siberian and 11 southern regions, resulting in the deaths and culling of about 1.5 million birds.

Several research centers will be involved in the second phase, and commercial production of the vaccine can begin after its completion, the researcher said.

"I believe the problem will be resolved, and that vaccine production will be launched by next spring," Yerofeyeva said.

She said the vaccine is likely to be given mainly to people in high-risk groups, including poultry farm workers, hunters and veterinary workers.

Source: RIA Novosti

Related Links
The science and news of Epidemics on Earth

FluWrap: Monitor 'H5N1 Lite' For Spread
London (UPI) Sep 20, 2006
One of the major concerns inherent in the possible avian-influenza pandemic is the disease's extraordinarily high death rate, which is more than half of known cases. But officials are now questioning whether this is indeed the case. Both South Korea and Indonesia have recently announced cases of avian-influenza infection in humans that were not identified until after the person in question had been infected by, and had recovered from, the disease.

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