Bird Flu Vaccine Breakthrough

Bird flu vaccine breakthrough.

The most effective vaccine developed so far to combat the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been unveiled.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is behind the prototype vaccine, based on a deactivated strain of H5N1 isolated in Indonesia last year.

It was tested on 400 adults in Belgium, using a proprietary adjuvant, an ingredient added to stimulate the immune system and increase the response.

The company said the vaccine provoked a strong response in more than 80% of the people tested – more than any other vaccine in development.

By the end of the year the company will know if it will be possible to mass-produce the vaccine, estimating the cost per dose could be £4.

“These results are highly significant and mark real progress,” said J P Garnier, GlaxoSmithKline’s chief executive officer, although he added: “There is still a lot more work to be done.”

But Prof Peter Dunnill, the chairman of University College London, said: “It would still only allow coverage of five per cent of the global population if all the world’s viral influenza vaccine capacity was used.”

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