A Dutch chemical group Akzo Nobel has collaborated with researchers from the Friedrich Loeffler Institute and developed a new bird flu vaccine , which unlike previous ones, can be sprayed over birds instead of individual injection, and therefore harbor hopes of being able to shield greater numbers in lesser time.
Explaining that this vaccine is the first of its kind and it includes the effectiveness of vaccines already available and also adding the new component of bulk usage, this combination they hope could help in giving greater benefits for its users and manufactures.
This new vaccine is particularly of importance due to the significant outbreak of recent H5N1 avian influenza that had spread across Asia, Africa and Europe, which resulted in the culling of millions of birds. The recent statistics from WHO claim that in the month of January, the virus has killed 79 Asians and has now spread over 10 countries, infecting around 224 people, killing 127 of them.
It was explained that poultry could get infected by the avian influenza virus in several ways like, direct contact with infected poultry, through contact with cages, water and feed that have been contaminated with the virus. People, vehicles, and other objects usually act as vectors that help in the spread of influenza virus from one farm to another.
It was also explained that the viruses are generally classified into low-pathogenicity and high-pathogenicity based on the seriousness of the illness they cause. Explaining that the high pathogenic variety is an extremely infectious and fatal form of the disease that, once established, can spread rapidly from flock to flock, they also said that certain low-pathogenicity virus strains are capable of mutating into high-pathogenicity viruses. They explained this vaccine acts by attacking the problem at the root level, and therefore prevents the spread and advancement of the disease.
Toon Wilderbeek, Akzo's executive in charge of pharmaceuticals also explained that the new vaccine would also greatly reduce the efforts that would be required for individually administering the doses. It is of a great fear in the scientific community that the virus could mutates anytime soon, causing it to spread from humans to humans at an alarming rates, which could result in a global epidemic within weeks.