By Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development
Vaccine that Doesn’t Match Today’s Bird Flu Can Be Valuable in Fighting a Potential Pandemic
(HealthNewsDigest.com) – ST. LOUIS — A stockpiled vaccine designed to fight a strain of avian flu that circulated in 2004 can be combined with a vaccine that matches the current strain of bird flu to protect against a potential pandemic, researchers from Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development have found.
The findings suggest public health officials can get a jump on fighting a pandemic caused by avian flu virus because they won’t have to wait for a vaccine that exactly matches the current strain of bird flu to be manufactured. They can begin immunizing against the bird flu by giving an injection of a vaccine made from a related, yet mismatched strain of flu to prime the body for a second shot of a vaccine that matches the current strain.
“A cornerstone of pandemic planning is the development of effective vaccines against avian influenza infection,” said Robert Belshe, M.D., director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University and the lead author of the paper.
“The results of the present study confirm the usefulness of vaccination with an H5 strain that isn’t the current dominant strain.”