Friday, February 03, 2006
Some Good Bird Flu News: Possible Injection
Now that our troops have yet another worry added onto their already full plate, this could be very good news: Could an Avian Flu injection be just around the corner? This from CNN certainly seems to suggest that, or at least that 1 may be on the horizon, as does this from the Globe & Mail. They did not use the actual H5N1 virus (just genetic sequence data from the CDC). They artificially generated the DNA coding for the hemagglutinin gene (which controls a protein found on the surface of all flu viruses) and provides the "H" in a virus's name. They then spliced this artificial DNA into a human common cold virus. Tests in mice and chickens showed it provided partial protection when given nasally, and 100% protection against H5N1 when injected. And it produced what is known as a dual immunological response -the body generated both antibodies to neutralize the virus, and T-cells, a kind of immune cell that also attacks viruses. Now, if we can just convince our incompetent leader to realize that if and when the bird flu hits that we have to make sure that the group that must receive the shot 1st is compromised of people aged 15-45 yrs (the group that was devastated by the 1918 Influenza, which is avian's flu's nearly identical twin and the bird flu is hitting those aged 15-40 yrs hardest) THEN we might avoid a devastating pandemic that would be massively compounded by wiping out our most economically productive age group.