H5N1 Bird Flu Vaccine
Ready For Clinical Trials

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - The NIAID, NIH and CDC answer to every disease, "vaccine!" I wonder where the vaccine testing is going to take place? Will H5N1 vaccine be, yet, another vaccine forced on the public?
Are we getting innundated with scarey stories about this bird flu simply to provide a market for the new upcoming Aventis Pasteur vaccine?
H5N1 has been with us since it was first isolated in South Africa in 1961. It did have a mutation in 1997, however, that was after there had been much research on this particular avian influenza.
I just don't believe that we will "control" this bird flu by killing off birds and fowl and vaccinating humans.
Patricia Doyle
Bird Flu Vaccines To Be Tested
By Randolph e. Schmid
Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Amid dire warnings of an Asian pandemic, the government is preparing to test an experimental bird flu vaccine and is increasing disease surveillance in hopes of reducing the toll from any eventual American outbreak.
Antiviral drugs are being stockpiled just in case, and 2 million doses of vaccine are being stored in bulk form.
United Nations officials warned on Wednesday that the Asian bird flu outbreak poses the "gravest possible danger" of becoming a global pandemic.
Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the National Press Club this week that "it is a worrisome situation," though she also said the United States "is not immediately on the brink of an avian flu epidemic."
The flu has affected poultry in eight Asian countries, with 45 human deaths among people who caught the illness, a strain of flu known as H5N1.
So far, humans appear to have caught this flu from chickens and other poultry, and the virus is not known to have spread from person to person.
What health authorities most fear is that the virus will mutate into a form that can pass easily from one human to another. That's when a global threat would be most likely.
The deadly flu of 1918, which killed from 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, didn't appear suddenly but mutated gradually into the deadlier form, Gerberding explained.
"That's why it's important to have flu vaccine and antivirals, to be ready to react when it starts to emerge," she said.
The first doses of an experimental vaccine are almost ready for testing, antiviral drugs are being stockpiled, and the government has increased disease surveillance and expanded research programs.
The new vaccine was prepared in two different concentrations - 4,000 doses each - and is nearly ready to be shipped to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases for clinical trials, Len Lavenda, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical firm Aventis Pasteur, said Wednesday.
NIAID did not return several calls asking about the status of the trials.
In addition to the vaccine scheduled for trials, Aventis Pasteur has produced 2 million doses of bulk avian flu vaccine, Lavenda said. The vaccine is being monitored for potency to determine if such vaccines can be produced in advance and stored until needed, he said.
In Europe, a program called Flupan is under way with Aventis, European Union agencies and the University of Reading in England working on a flu vaccine for clinical study.
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said that agency has a stockpile of antiviral drugs that could be used in the event of a pandemic, depending on the virus that emerges.
CDC has also increased its surveillance of the flu, with staffers deployed to Asia to work with the World Health Organization to monitor the disease.
The disease has appeared in poultry in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
In an effort to catch any U.S. cases early, CDC has contacted state and local health departments, hospitals and doctors, urging them to ask about recent travel by people with flu symptoms.
It called for testing patients for the bird flu if they have been in an affected area within 10 days and have confirmed pneumonia or other severe respiratory problems.
In addition, CDC said, testing should be considered for patients with a temperature greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit who have visited such countries, visited a poultry farm and who have a cough, sore threat or shortness of breath.
Major flu pandemics over the last century, according to CDC, include:
* Spanish flu that swept the world in 1918-1919 and killed an estimated 500,000 Americans. Nearly half were young, healthy adults.
* Asian flu in 1957-1958 was first identified in China. It claimed 70,000 lives in the United States.
* Hong Kong flu, 1968-1969 caused about 34,000 American deaths.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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