A vaccine for bird flu and Newcastle Disease that can be sprayed to inoculate mass avian populations is ready for testing next year, according to Dutch chemical group Akzo Nobel NV.
The vaccine, developed by Akzo’s animal health unit Intervet in cooperation with the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute in Germany, means that birds would not have to be injected individually as is currently the case.
“The prototype combines the efficacy of the present vaccines with a mass application tool and could prove invaluable in helping to quickly protect large numbers of birds,” said Toon Wilderbeek, Akzo’s executive in charge of pharmaceuticals.
Tens of millions of birds have died from or been culled in response to the H5N1 avian influenza, which has spread out of Asia into Africa and across Europe.
The disease has infected at least 224 people in 10 countries, and killed 127 of them, according to recent World Health Organisation statistics.
The first trials for a human vaccine are scheduled for this year, while clinical trials for the H5N1 vaccine are planned for next year.
Several companies make influenza vaccines and are also working on H5N1 vaccines. They include Sanofi Aventis SA, Chiron Corp, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Acambis Plc and Dutch biotech company Crucell NV.