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 shows novel protein plays role in bacterial vaginosis
13.12.2019 | University of Arizona Health Sciences

nachricht Illinois team develops first of a kind in-vitro 3D neural tissue model
12.12.2019 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

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: Virus multiplication in 3D

Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.

For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...

Im Focus: Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?

It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure

13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>