Bird Flu

Bird flu vaccine 'effective'

2006-07-26 14:24

Special Report

Bird flu scare in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is on bird flu alert again after a wild bird found in a busy shopping area tested positive for the H5 strain of the avian flu virus.

London - European pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline reported on Wednesday it had developed a vaccine for humans effective against bird flu.

An H5N1 pandemic flu vaccine had achieved a high immune response in 80% of 400 subjects who received the vaccine, said the company.

"This level ... meets or exceeds target criteria set by regulatory agencies for registration of influenza vaccines," said GlaxoSmithKline

The company stressed there was "still a lot more work to be done with this programme" but the results had boosted confidence that a vaccine could be developed to offer cross-protection to variants of the H5N1 strain.

"All being well, we expect to make regulatory filings for the vaccine in the coming months," the company said.

130 deaths

Thai health authorities on Wednesday confirmed that a 17-year-old youth had died from the avian influenza, making him the kingdom's 15th human victim to the pandemic.

Health experts fear that the H5N1 strain of bird flu could mutate into a form that is transmitted more easily between humans.

So far, most of the approximately 130 people who have died since late 2003 were exposed to the virus through close contact with sick or dead birds. - Sapa-dpa

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