Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rochester, BCM test bird-flu vaccine in humans

24.03.2004


Doctors are beginning the first test in the United States of a vaccine designed to protect people against one form of bird flu should an outbreak of the virus occur in humans. While the vaccine under study is not designed to protect against the precise bird-flu virus causing the current outbreak in poultry and in people, scientists will learn whether it protects against another strain of the virus that infects birds and people.



Physicians at the University of Rochester and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) have embarked on an eight-month study to test an investigational vaccine in about 200 people. The study is being done at the request of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which funds a network of institutions to test new vaccines against diseases like flu, smallpox, and pneumonia.

The study overall is led by Robert L. Atmar, M.D., associate professor of medicine and molecular virology and microbiology at BCM. John Treanor, M.D., professor of medicine and director of Rochester’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, is leading Rochester’s portion of the study.


Nurses and doctors will enroll participants in the study during the next two months, and then for six months they’ll closely monitor the participants, checking their health and taking blood tests to check the immune response created by the vaccine.

While only about two dozen people worldwide have died in recent months after becoming infected from a strain of flu known as H5N1 that is normally found in birds, bird flu is seen as a potent threat to human health because of its potential to rip quickly through a human population. A typical flu virus that normally circulates in humans causes tens of thousands of deaths each year, even though most people have some immunity against this "normal" flu. But avian flu is feared by doctors because hardly anyone carries any defenses.

"People generally haven’t been exposed to bird flu viruses and so they have no immunity. A bird flu virus that acquired the ability to thrive in people could cause a severe epidemic," says Treanor.

Indeed, just last month, researchers announced that the worst flu epidemic on record, the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish flu, appears to have been caused by a virus that jumped from birds to humans. That outbreak claimed anywhere from 30 to 40 million lives worldwide, historians estimate.

During the past few months, millions of chickens and turkeys, mainly in Asia, have been killed as authorities seek to halt the spread of a particularly lethal type of bird flu. South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, and the Netherlands are among the nations that have seen outbreaks of bird flu in chickens and other birds recently. In the United States there have been outbreaks of bird flu in poultry farms in Maryland, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

While a few people in affected areas have died, the real danger is if a bird flu virus infects a person who is also infected with the usual human flu. With some minor genetic modifications, bird flu could gain the potential to be transmitted from person to person.

While vaccines to protect against normal flu are widely used every year, there is currently no vaccine approved to protect against any of the more than a dozen forms of bird flu. The vaccine that Baylor and Rochester researchers are studying aims to protect people against a form of the virus, H9, which infected several people in Hong Kong in 1999. Other researchers are now developing other vaccines that could protect against the H5 form, which is responsible for most of the recent deaths in Asia.

"When you’re talking about bird flu, you’re really talking about many different viruses," says Treanor. "We are doing our best to be prepared for as many of them as possible."

Tom Rickey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>