Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Possible Vaccine Against Avian Flu?

H5N1. The most feared type of influenza A virus has always been our concern. The statics show that for last 4 years, total 203 deaths were confirmed. Also, according to report from WHO, the both human cases and deaths of H5N1 is gaining its momentum, and steadily increasing. What does this mean? Does this mean that we are looking at possible cause of next inevitable chaos? If so, how are we going to prepare for it?

On a bright side, several researchers have managed to produce new vaccine against avian flu that is ready for human trial. This new vaccine is developed from NDV, new castle disease virus that has same common gene as H5N1. So far, the experiment was successful to monkeys. When monkeys were injected with this vaccine, it was observed that there was significant increase in the anti-bodies. Now, researchers firmly believe that this new vaccine is possible candidate vaccine against H5N1.

However, I can't help but bring up issue of safety of vaccine. The report says the monkeys were well-tolerated the vaccine, but clearly, humans and monkeys are different. The genetics might say otherwise but there are undoubtedly much difference us and monkeys. We need to make sure this vaccines don't become just another problem for us to deal with. Also, even if the vaccine was proven to be safe for human usage, do we have enough facilities to mass-produce this vaccine to vaccinate the whole population of the earth? H5N1 avian flu is becoming more threat to us as we speak. It's critical to think about how fast we can deliver this vaccine to those in need right now. And, for some people, this vaccine might not work, for all individuals are not same. So, we have to take that into consideration and think of way to modify the vaccine. This process can take extra time and money.  



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