May 13--Mother's Day Flu UpdateThere's a bird flu death in Indonesia--all but lab confirmed. She was 26, 4 months pregnant.
ProMed has this story as well.
The World Health Assembly is coming up. Helen Branswell is here with her usual indispensable analysis. Avian flu will be the big topic--and here is the problem. This throws cold water on the idea of a pre-pandemic vaccine.
Simply put, scientists can't be certain how much vaccine is needed to protect people against novel influenza viruses such as H5N1 avian flu, because they don't know what the immune system of a person protected against a new flu strain would look like.
Sure, they can observe whether immunization with H5N1 vaccine produces certain antibodies and to what levels the antibodies rise, but they have no way of gauging how much protection those antibodies will provide if the person is exposed to the virus.
"We can't get the answer to that until the pandemic comes. There's just no way," admits Dr. Robert Webster, the renown flu researcher from St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Of course, virus sharing is also on the agenda at the Assembly.
Bangladesh still struggles with bird flu.
ProMed on Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Surveillance is being stepped up in Volta.
African publication says bird flu deadlier than HIV.