Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wild Birds Help To Create Human Flu Vaccine

Date:
November 5, 2005
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
Avian influenza virus samples collected from wild birds in Mongolia by field veterinarians from the New York City-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have been selected by the World Health Organization to be part of a new human pandemic influenza vaccine currently in development.

Veterinarians Billy Karesh and Martin Gilbert from the Wildlife Conservation Society collecting samples from wild birds in Mongolia. These samples--found to contain the H5N1 virus--are being used to develop a new human vaccine for avian influenza.
Credit: Photo B. Karesh/Wildlife Conservation Society

Avian influenza virus samples collected from wild birds in Mongolia by field veterinarians from the New York City-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have been selected by the World Health Organization to be part of a new human pandemic influenza vaccine currently in development. The samples, collected in the midst of an outbreak in August killing wild ducks, geese and swans in northern Mongolia have unique genetic characteristics which make them a valuable addition to a human vaccine based on a variety of strains of influenza.

Working in Mongolia for a health survey of wild bird populations in Mongolia, WCS field vets Drs. William Karesh and Martin Gilbert responded to reports of the avian influenza outbreak in Kovsgol Province near the Russian border from the Mongolian Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which conducted preliminary testing from the wild birds. The highly pathogenic avian flu-H5N1 finding was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory.

"This is good for humankind," said Dr. David Swayne, director of the USDA Southeast Poultry Laboratory, which was able to grow the virus from the Mongolian samples.

"Nature is the largest, incompletely catalogued library on earth," said Dr. Karesh, director of WCS's Field Veterinary Program. "This is just one more example of the value of protecting the diversity of life on our planet, and how monitoring the health of wild species serves not only to protect them, but also can have huge payoffs for humankind."

The field team -- supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.) of the U.N., included personnel from WCS, the Mongolian National Academy of Sciences, the Mongolian Institute of Veterinary Medicine, the State Central Veterinary Laboratory, Ministry of Food and Agriculture Veterinary Department, and the Mongolian Ministry of Health Center for Communicable Diseases with Natural Foci -- searched for birds from the Gobi Desert to the northern mountain lakes of the country and collected samples from hundreds of wild birds, both live and dead including, ruddy shelduck, herring gull, black-headed gull, bar-headed goose, and whooper swans, all species that have been affected by the disease.

"The collaboration of national and international agencies and groups in Mongolia provides a solid example of how the threat of avian influenza can be monitored and countered ," said Joseph Domenech, F.A.O.'s Chief Veterinary Officer. "Effective teamwork on all levels is our best defense against this potential pandemic."

The multidisciplinary, collaborative response to this latest outbreak reflects the WCS 'One World-One Health' approach to making informed, multidisciplinary decisions on global health crises that intersect human, wildlife, and livestock health. Wildlife and health experts, including F.A.O. and the World Organization for Animal Health, maintain that indiscriminate culling of wild migratory bird populations would be ineffective in preventing the spread of avian flu. Wild birds, some of which are critically threatened or endangered are also being impacted directly by the H5N1 strain of influenza virus. Focusing resources on the hubs and activities where humans, livestock, and wildlife come into close contact is the best hope for successfully preventing the spread of avian flu and protecting both people and animals. To contain this potential epidemic, prevention activities must include better management practices in farms, especially those that are small and open-air where domestic poultry and waterfowl are allowed to intermingle with wild birds, and the use of effective vaccines as required, as expounded by the U.N.'s F.A.O. Officials would also need to monitor wildlife markets where wild and domesticated species are kept in close proximity, and risk exposure to a wide range of pathogens.

The White House's recently released "National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza" acknowledges the need to "expand and enhance mechanisms for screening and monitoring animals that may harbor viruses with pandemic potential." Working in tandem with national and international health agencies, congressional leaders have introduced legislation aimed at filling existing gaps in US pandemic preparedness by establishing a global network to monitor wild bird diseases and distributing real-time surveillance results to combat the spread of avian influenza. "Just as we track hurricanes when they begin as a tropical storm, we must track wild migratory birds and the viral storms they carry over oceans and continents and share that data with the world," said Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), who recently introduced the Global Network for Avian Influenza Surveillance Act and has been working with congressional leaders to address this gap in US surveillance efforts.

"WCS has been at the forefront of research into the avian flu pandemic, and this development underscores the importance of their work," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY 18), author of the Pandemic Preparedness and Response Act to create an international plan to address avian flu. "This development will help ensure that we have a more accurate vaccine to target a possible avian flu pandemic. As we work in Congress to bolster preparedness for an avian flu pandemic, contributions like this from the scientific community will be critical to ensure that the steps we take will protect the public as best as possible."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Wild Birds Help To Create Human Flu Vaccine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051104084434.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2005, November 5). Wild Birds Help To Create Human Flu Vaccine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051104084434.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Wild Birds Help To Create Human Flu Vaccine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051104084434.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins