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 Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Shape matters when light meets atom

05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”

05.12.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>