Vaccines to protect humans against bird flu

Bird flu is not (yet) regarded as a threat to the human population, as the virus does not transmit easily from birds and animals to humans, and there has not been any human-to-human transmission.

Nearly all of the bird flu cases in humans have involved people working with poultry and animals, and it is these workers that the new vaccines will aim to protect. The World Health Organisation reported last month  that of the 889 people known to have been infected with the H5N1 virus, 463 had died – a mortality rate of 52%.

WattPoultry reports that the European Union (EU) has ordered 665 000 vaccine doses designed to protect adults against the H5 bird flu strain. They will be used to vaccinate workers at risk of exposure.

The contract includes the option for a further 40 million doses. It was entered into by the EU’s Health Emergency and Response Authority on behalf of member states. It follows the announcement in the US that the country’s National Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Stockpile programme has ordered 4.8 million vaccine doses to protect humans against the bird flu virus.