Thursday, April 11, 2013

Making vaccine for new flu H7N9 flu virus could be a challenge: Experts

By Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press April 11, 2013 3:44 PM
TORONTO - Influenza experts say making a vaccine to protect against the new H7N9 flu virus that has emerged in eastern China could prove to be problematic.
In an article published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warn that previous clinical trials with H7 vaccines suggest they induce a poor response in people.

Another influenza expert, Michael Osterholm, says the earlier studies show that even when people get 12 times the amount of vaccine they would get for a seasonal flu virus, H7 vaccines don't trigger production of many protective antibodies in healthy adults.
And he warns that if a vaccine doesn't work well in that group, it's likely to work even less well in older or sicker people.
"If you add all those (facts) together, it doesn't really paint a really very optimistic picture about influenza vaccine being a really significant weapon against this, should a pandemic emerge quickly," Osterholm says
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