Tuesday, April 19, 2005

April 18 Flu Update

Vietnam news on baffling bird flu...says containment may not happen until 2007.

Official Vietnam release on the 2007 date.

WHO says 1957 flu virus is almost dead.

Hong Kong making bird flu preperations.

Recombinomics on effective tiger-tiger transmission.

CDC has updated its avian flu outbreak report for Asia...nothing appears to be too new.

So far, no sustained human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus has been identified, and no evidence for genetic reassortment between human and avian influenza virus genes has been found; however, the epizootic outbreak in Asia poses an important public health threat.

If these H5N1 viruses gain the ability for efficient and sustained transmission between humans, there is little preexisting natural immunity to H5N1 infection in the human population, and an influenza pandemic could result, with high rates of illness and death. In addition, genetic sequencing of influenza A (H5N1) virus samples from human cases in Vietnam and Thailand shows resistance to the antiviral medications amantadine and rimantadine, two of the medications commonly used for treatment of influenza. This would leave two remaining antiviral medications (oseltamivir and zanamivir) that should still be effective against currently circulating strains of H5N1 virus. Efforts to produce a vaccine that would be effective against this strain of influenza A (H5N1) virus are under way. Vaccine reference virus strains already have been made and provided to manufacturers to produce pilot lots for human clinical trials as well as to produce a larger quantity of H5N1 vaccine, but mass production and availability of such a vaccine is some time off.

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