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 Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease
22.08.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
22.08.2017 | University at Buffalo

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>