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Preventing the Pandemic: Major Bird Flu Conference addresses the role of vaccines

A major, international two-day conference begins in London today (23rd June 2006) to discuss the role of vaccines in halting the spread of bird flu.

“Preventing the Pandemic: Bird Flu Vaccines” will focus on practical intervention using vaccines or passive antibodies; new molecular technologies; and the speed with which vaccines can be made. The conference has been organised by Retroscreen Virology Ltd, a subsidiary of Barts and The London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and is led by the UK’s leading bird flu expert Professor John Oxford.

The bird flu influenza virus, H5N1 continues to spread widely in S E Asia and around the periphery of Europe. A third of the world’s countries now have pandemic plans, and stockpiling of vaccines has begun. Whilst antivirals will be a major defence during the first pandemic wave, influenza vaccines will be a vital parallel strategy for subsequent epidemic waves.

The conference programme will cover:

- An update on Bird Flu: From Asia to Europe
- DNA and RNA vaccine
- Adjuvants and antigen sparing strategies
- Should governments stockpile vaccines
- Cell culture versus traditional production methods
John Oxford, Professor of Virology at Queen Mary, University of London and co-founder of Retroscreen said: “Every other day someone in S E Asia dies from bird flu. The threat of a global bird flu pandemic has increased - children under four are especially vulnerable to the disease. Vaccines are a crucial component in the line of defence against the spread of the virus. This is an important conference, one that will be addressing some major questions which affect us all.”

Alex Fernandes | alfa
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