Russia has begun testing a vaccine to prevent bird flu in humans, a senior doctor in Moscow has revealed. Russia has not had any human infections to date, but avian influenza in birds has claimed around 1.1 million birds either through disease or through culling.
"We have started tests on 120 volunteers," said Vitaly Zverev, the head of the Mechnikov Vaccine and Serum Research Institute. "They are mainly medical staff, doctors and donors. They are all healthy adults aged between 18 and 45.All rules have been observed, the vaccination program has by approved by an ethics committee, all volunteers have been insured."
He added that all volunteers would be monitored until mid-August. The vaccine is also being tested at St. Petersburg-based Influenza Research Institute. Anton Katlinsky, the director of vaccine developer Mikrogen, has announced that all the volunteers in this program would be paid $190.
The vaccine has been produced from a non-pandemic H5N1 bird flu strain and would thus not pose any problems to those who volunteer, he added.