Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bird Flu Vaccine Protects People And Pets

Date:
October 20, 2008
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to a new article published in the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and mammals against different flu strains and can even be given to birds while they are still in their eggs, allowing the mass vaccination of wild birds.

Researchers believe they have found a single vaccine that could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics.
Credit: iStockphoto/Joerg Reimann

A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and mammals against different flu strains and can even be given to birds while they are still in their eggs, allowing the mass vaccination of wild birds.

The emergence of bird flu has posed a major challenge to scientists designing vaccines as it can infect a number of different animals, including birds, pets and people. Now, researchers in the USA have discovered that a vaccine based on a bird flu virus could be used to protect several species against different influenza viruses.

"The world is experiencing a pandemic of influenza in birds caused by an H5N1 virus. Although it has been restricted to Eurasia and some countries in Africa, there is a risk that this virus may spread worldwide," said Professor Daniel Perez from the University of Maryland, USA. "The H5N1 virus also has an unusual expanded host range: not only birds and humans have been infected but also cats, which are usually resistant to influenza. To prepare for a pandemic, it would be ideal to have a vaccine that could be used in multiple animal species."

The researchers found that the central genes or 'backbone' of the H9N2 virus that infects guinea fowl can protect birds and mice against highly pathogenic strains of influenza. They modified the virus to make it less pathogenic and then used it to vaccinate mice. Three weeks after being vaccinated, the mice were infected with the potentially lethal H1N1 virus - the same virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. All the vaccinated mice survived with no signs of disease. Vaccinated mice also survived infection with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, again showing no signs of disease.

"Our results show that the H9N2 backbone vaccine can be used to protect mice against two different, highly pathogenic strains of influenza. We chose genes from H9N2 influenza for the vaccine because the virus can infect many different animals, including chickens, mice and pigs," said Professor Perez. "A very important limitation in the current design of flu vaccines is that they are usually species specific. Our approach involves a universal backbone that can be used in several different species, including humans."

More importantly, this live attenuated virus provided effective protection when it was administered to birds before they had hatched. By vaccinating eggs against influenza, we could protect wild bird species as well as domestic chickens against pandemic flu strains, limiting the spread of disease to humans.

"If an emerging strain of bird flu spreads among a broad range of animal species, we should expect major health, economic and ecological consequences," said Professor Perez. "It is unrealistic to consider preparing different vaccines specifically tailored to different animal species in this situation. An influenza vaccine that could protect different species would save valuable time during a pandemic."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Hickman et al. An avian live attenuated master backbone for potential use in epidemic and pandemic influenza vaccines. Journal of General Virology, 2008; 89 (11): 2682 DOI: 10.1099/vir.0.2008/004143-0

Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Bird Flu Vaccine Protects People And Pets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081019184800.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2008, October 20). Bird Flu Vaccine Protects People And Pets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081019184800.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Bird Flu Vaccine Protects People And Pets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081019184800.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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