Medical research

Novel pandemic flu vaccine effective against H5N1 in mice

Vaccines against H5N1 influenza will be critical in countering a possible future pandemic. Yet public health experts agree that the current method of growing seasonal influenza vaccines in chicken eggs is slow and inefficient.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

US-based scientist makes potent version of H1N1 flu

A US-based Japanese scientist said Wednesday he has succeeded in engineering a version of the so-called swine flu virus that would be able to evade the human immune system.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Avian flu variant stalks Egypt

(Medical Xpress)—Since its first identification in Asia, highly pathogenic avian influenza – H5N1 – has caused significant alarm in the scientific community. While the virus' primary target is birds – tens of millions ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Basic disinfectant could halt bird flu spread, study shows

Live poultry markets can act as hotbeds for H5N1 bird flu, but simple measures such as disinfecting trucks, equipment and market space could help stop the virus from spreading, researchers said Monday.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Two in China first known deaths from H7N9 bird flu

Two Shanghai men have died from a lesser-known type of bird flu in the first known human deaths from the strain, and Chinese authorities said Sunday that it wasn't clear how they were infected, but that there was no evidence ...

Medical research

Bird flu debate: Should H5N1 experiments resume?

Virologists making mutated versions of the H5N1 bird flu halted their research in January after a U.S. government advisory panel suggested that their work, though well-intentioned, had the potential to endanger the public.

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Influenza A virus subtype H5N1

Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as "bird flu," A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species. A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu". It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia. It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread. Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

According to the FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination. Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007. The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

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