Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Good News on Avian Flu Vaccine

An avian flu vaccine is moving into clinical trials:
An experimental avian flu vaccine will soon be injected into healthy volunteers to determine whether it is potent enough to thwart infection with an often deadly strain circulating in Asia
Effectiveness will likely be measured by looking for antibodies against the specific hemagluttinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) contained in the vaccine. Generating those antibodies would presumably protect against infection or at least lessen severity. The vaccine would then hopefully move into field tests in Vietnam among those at risk of exposure.

Note that protection doesn't have to be absolute. So called memory responses (in which the immune system hs encountered something before) are generally much more rapid and robust than those to primary (previously unencountered) stimuli. So, someone whose gotten tis vaccine could potentially still get infected, but would hopefully mount a swift and vigorous response to infection, clearing it quickly with minimal symptoms (i.e. maybe like getting the regular flu or a cold)


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