New vaccine against AI virus shows promise
A commercially developed vaccine has
successfully protected mice and ferrets against a highly lethal avian influenza
virus. The vaccine was developed by Vical Incorporated in San
This finding of Vical, coupled with results of
previous studies that showed protection against multiple human influenza
strains, suggests that such a vaccine would protect humans against multiple
variants of the bird and human influenza viruses.
In the St. Jude
study, the full, three-component vaccine (H5, NP and M2) provided complete
protection in mice against lethal challenges with a highly virulent
(Vietnam/1203/2004) H5N1 avian influenza virus.
studies showed that a smaller version of the vaccine containing only the NP and
M2 components provided significant protection against several strains of human
influenza virus as well as the H5N1 "bird flu" strain.
In the study
all mice and ferrets that received the DNA vaccine survived the challenge with
the virulent H5N1 strain, while those that received a "blank" vaccine control
did not survive.
also prevented weight loss in all animals challenged with the
virulent virus, suggesting that the vaccine might also protect humans against serious
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