The US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has signed a two-year cooperative deal with Melbourne-based pharmaceutical development company, BioDiem, to conduct pre-clinical trials on a candidate vaccine developed by BioDiem and its Dutch partner Akzo Nobels Nobilon.
The CDC in Atlanta, the US government's leading site for research into the prevention and monitoring of high-risk bio-terrorist and pandemic diseases, under the agreement will conduct pre-clinical trails on candidate vaccine developed against avian influenza H5N1.
The current process employed to produce flu vaccine uses a killed version of the current influenza virus that are grown in chicken eggs, but the process is slow and can take up to four months to produce a vaccine, too slow in case of a pandemic. Also, it takes about two weeks for the inactive vaccines to give protection and two shots of the vaccine three week apart is required for the vaccine to be effective.
The BioDiem's vaccine is a live vaccine grown in cell culture and hence it can be mass produced faster, and also requires just one dose to give coverage within a day of administration. Also, no needles would be required for administration of the vaccine as it can be administered as a nasal spray.
In the event of a pandemic outbreak, a live vaccine may offer better and broader protection according to experts at the World Health Organization.
Tom Williams BioDiem CEO said: "It's a reflection of the potential of this live attenuated influenza technology that the CDC is contributing its resources to this program of work on BioDiem's flu vaccine. We're delighted that the scientists at CDC and our partner Nobilon will be working together with scientists from BioDiem on this vital project."