Tuesday, May 20, 2008

H5N1 vaccine approved by EU

GlaxoSmithKline has created a vaccine, Prepandrix, against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza which has been approved by the European Commission.

"Prepandrix targets an antigen from an H5N1 strain called A/Vietnam/1194/04, which has been detected in birds in Asia, Europe and Africa. Clinical tests have shown that the vaccine is also effective against other closely related variants of H5N1, such as H5N2. The release of the vaccine is seen as a gamble that any future pandemic strain will closely resemble the Vietnamese version used to derive the vaccine."

Although there are concerns regarding the efficacy of the vaccine and how best to implement a vaccine coverage campaign, researchers are optimistic that the development of the vaccine will aid the public health community in the event of a pandemic.

"In the event of an outbreak, the causative agent first needs to be characterized by researchers so that a vaccine can be designed against that strain. Influenza travels very rapidly, so responding rapidly to control its spread is paramount.

In the event that a pandemic strain differs from that used to make the vaccine, a preemptive vaccination programme with Prepandrix would at least give researchers time to respond to develop a new vaccine."

Full story at: http://www.birdflubreakingnews.com/templates/birdflu/window.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nature.com%2Fnews%2F2008%2F080520%2Ffull%2Fnews.2008.844.html

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