Flu (Bird, Swine, etc): November 2006 Archives

Rumors of Canada bird flu case false


bird flu TORONTO (Reuters) - Internet speculation over a potential human case of bird flu in the Canadian province of Quebec is untrue, health officials said on Wednesday.

"It's a false rumor," Dr. Patrick Dolce, head of infection control at the hospital in Rimouski, Quebec, told Reuters. "Everything is false; there is no patient, no nothing."

His remarks echoed those of Quebec Health Ministry spokeswoman Helene Gingras, who also said the rumors were "not true."

Bird flu: S Korea slaughters dogs, cats, pigs, mice

south koreaBEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- South Korean quarantine officials in Iksan City on Tuesday began the slaughter of pigs and dogs although international health experts have questioned the necessity of killing non-poultry species to prevent the spread of bird flu.

But the officials insist the decision to slaughter pigs and dogs was not unusual and that the step has been taken in other countries without public knowledge.

Park Kyung-hee, an official at Iksan city hall, said Wednesday 426 pigs and four dogs have been killed along with 127,200 chickens and 6.8 million eggs.

Bird Flu Vaccines Lose Their Strength

avian fluThe initial doses of bird flu vaccines that were stockpiled by US authorities are less effective now - they lose their strength over time. As the vaccines have a shorter 'shelf-life' than was first expected, it is possible that the US stockpile would now cover one million fewer people than previously thought.

In other words - as the vaccines have a shorter shelf-life than we had previously thought, many of the first ones that were bought may now not be so good.
(Shelf life = How long a drug can be kept/stored before it has to be thrown away. A bit like 'expiry date' on foods. If a drug has a two-year shelf life and was made on 1 January, 2007, it must be discarded by the end of 2008.)

South Korea confirms outbreak of H5N1 bird flu

bird fluSEOUL - South Korea said on Saturday a bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm was caused by the highly virulent H5N1 strain of the virus, in the country's first case for three years of the infection that can kill humans.

The Agriculture Ministry said earlier this week it suspected bird flu had killed 6,000 chickens at a farm in the southwest of the country that lies on a path for migratory birds.

"It is the H5N1 strain," a ministry official said by telephone on Saturday, after test results.

South Korea suspects bird flu after thousands of chickens die

bird fluSEOUL : South Korea Thursday reported a possible bird flu outbreak after 6,000 chickens on one farm died in three days - the first suspected cases since the country declared itself free of the disease last December.

The agriculture ministry ordered the culling of the remaining 6,000 birds on the farm in the southern city of Iksan, a major centre for the country's poultry industry.

It sent an emergency supply of Tamiflu for 50 people and influenza vaccines for another 300.

Kim Chang-Seob, the ministry's chief veterinary officer, said the government received word of the outbreak Wednesday, and from the large number of deaths it suspected the virus may be a virulent strain.

Vietnam lab says it has bird flu vaccine

chicken eggsHANOI - A Vietnamese laboratory said Thursday it managed to produce a bird flu vaccine for humans that has now to be validated by the Ministry of Health before a possible test.

Scientists at the Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Biological Products, in central Khanh Hoa province, had produced 5,000 doses of the vaccine against the deadly H5N1 virus, said its director, Dr Le Van Hiep.

"We produced the vaccine via a technology of transplant on chicken eggs. It was tested successfully on mice and roosters," he said.

Bird flu vaccine ban to get rethink

avian flu virusBANGKOK - Vaccination of fowl against bird flu has been tabled for consideration again as part of the government's bird flu control policies amid warnings by experts about the country's lack of readiness to handle such a programme.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thira Sutabutra said yesterday the ministry would reconsider the pros and cons of using the vaccine in fowl as one of the counter-measures against bird flu at a meeting next week to be joined by experts from both state and private agencies.

If vaccine use proves beneficial and effective, the meeting's conclusions will then be forwarded to the government for a change in policy, he said.

Experts call for better flu plans


stupid faceAnother news just hit all news agencies' websites. The only question that I have is how much did these experts get paid to voice their message that can lead to major fear and panic. How much did GSK and Roche pay? And why the normal influenza vaccines can be helpful against bird-flu virus?! What is the reason of this move? Do GSK and Roche need to flush their stock of vaccines because their expiration date is getting close, again?

Leading scientists say the UK government is failing to take advantage of scientific developments in the fight to prevent a flu pandemic.

A Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences report says more than one anti-viral drug should be stockpiled.

It warns the H5N1 virus can develop resistance to Tamiflu, and says the drug Relenza should also be stockpiled. 

Vietnam completes bird flu vaccination in 2006

bird fluHANOI, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam has vaccinated 163.4 million fowls in the second batch of bird flu vaccination, fundamentally finishing its two-phase vaccination plan for 2006, according to a local veterinary agency on Tuesday.

The second batch of vaccination, which is underway in 63 out of64 cities and provinces nationwide, is scheduled to be complete by late this month, said the Department of Animal Health under the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Vietnam, to prevent reoccurrence of bird flu outbreaks, is intensifying fights against fowl smuggling, and monitoring poultry transport and trade.

Two Threatening Bird Flu Mutations

bird fluEither of two simple bird flu virus mutations could trigger a deadly pandemic, Japanese scientists warn.

Both mutations already have popped up in humans infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus.

They've been seen in bird flu viruses isolated from two people in Azerbaijan and from one person in Iraq, according to the Japanese scientists. Neither mutation has been seen among the more than 600 H5N1 viruses isolated from birds.

Drugs and fear: A new bird flu flurry


bird fluNEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Scientists have discovered a new strain of bird flu that has infected humans in China, which could arouse fresh fears of a possible pandemic and spur further interest in experimental drugs and vaccines.

Dr. Robert Webster of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, along with other scientists from the U.S. and China, announced "the emergence and pre-dominance of a previously uncharacterized" substrain of bird flu, appearing in Chinese poultry since late 2005.

The scientists, who published their findings on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Web site, also reported that the substrain of H5N1, also known as bird flu, had "caused recent human infection in China." Researchers noted that some of these cases were residents of urban areas remote from poultry farms.

SRI wins $57M fed avian-flu contract


SRIMENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- SRI International said Tuesday it has been awarded a $56.9 million U.S. government contract to develop avian-flu drugs and antibodies.

The company said the contract -- awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health -- is "to provide preclinical services for the development of drugs and antibodies for anti-infective therapeutics."

Under the deal, SRI will provide five years of support for the development of treatments for avian flu, SARS, West Nile virus, hepatitis, and biodefense pathogens and toxins.

Foam can kill chickens in a bird flu outbreak


bird fluThe article below raises two questions:

  1. Who will actually introduce bird flu to US birds? CDC? Beef industry or Pharma giant?
  2. What does Greenpeace think about this?
  3. Why US citizens let their administration use fear of the bird-flu as an instrument of influence?

(that would be 3 questions, though) 

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government has approved the use of firefighting foam to kill chickens quickly if there is an outbreak of deadly bird flu in commercial poultry.

The Agriculture Department says water-based foam can be an alternative to carbon dioxide, which has traditionally been used to quickly kill large quantities of birds.

Generex bird-flu vaccine ready for trials


bird-flu vaccineTORONTO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Generex Biotechnology said Monday it would begin the first human trial of its avian flu vaccine in Lebanon.

The Canadian firm said it has entered into a deal with the Beirut-based Lebanese-Canadian Hospital to conduct a clinical trial of the synthetic vaccine developed by Generex subsidiary Antigen Express.

The egg-based avian-flu vaccine is based on simple peptide-synthesis technology and as such can be made quickly, easily and cheaply, Generex said.

Information On Bird Flu Cases Poorly Recorded


H5N1 virusThe highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been detected in at least 55 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa. This often fatal disease is of pressing concern because it can be transmitted from birds to humans, although such transmissions have been rare so far.


Unfortunately, according to a Roundtable article in the November 2006 BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), critical information about incidence of the disease in wild birds--even the species of the infected bird--is often recorded inaccurately or not recorded at all. The deficiencies in data collection, the authors write, "can lead to unwarranted assumptions and conclusions that in turn affect public perceptions, practical control and management measures, and the disposition of resources."


Norwood Immunology buys flu vaccine company Bestewil


Norwood ImmunologyLONDON (AFX) - Norwood Immunology Ltd said, following a revision of terms for the acquisition of Bestewil Holding Ltd, holding company of Virosome Biologicals Ltd, it has agreed to buy the company for around 48 mln shares and 3.5 mln eur in cash.

Earlier this month Norwood allowed an option to buy the Dutch flu vaccine company lapse, having paid 725,00 eur for the call. But the company said now the revised acquisition terms have been agreed it is to proceed with the purchase.

Based on the company's closing mid market share price of 20 pence on October 26, and a 0.67 eur/1 stg exchange rate this is equivalent to a total consideration of 11.9 mln stg.


Novavax to Provide Vaccine for CDC Study


Novavax MALVERN, Pa. — Drug developer Novavax Inc. on Tuesday said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed to test the company's bird flu vaccine against a live strain of the H5N1 virus that causes the disease.

Under the agreement, Novavax will provide the CDC with a year's supply of its virus-like particle, or VLP, H5N1 vaccine. Novavax also plans to begin human testing of the vaccine in the first half of 2007.

VLPs are structures that are identical to a virus but lack the genetic material required to replicate, allowing for the body to produce an immune response without risking an infection.

Novavax shares rose 47 cents, or 11.5 percent, to $4.57 in premarket electronic trading, after closing at $4.10 Monday on the Nasdaq.