The spread of the avian influenza can be slowed by immunizing chickens. The disease has taken a toll of 79 lives since 2003. A vaccine has been developed for protecting chickens from the H5N1 virus by the research team led by Andrea Gambotto of the University of Pittsburgh.
This is believed to be an economically advantageous way of stopping the spread of the disease. The vaccine may also turn out to be useful if the virus mutates into a form which is capable of being transmitted from one human being to another.
The researchers conducted a series of experiments using a vaccine that expressed either subunits or all of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein of an H5N1 strain isolated in Vietnam. For delivery, the vaccine uses an adenovirus which is genetically altered so that it can't replicate, the researchers said.
One advantage of the vaccine is that it takes 'roughly a month to make', Gambotto said. The researchers were able to create the various vaccine candidates within 36 days of obtaining samples of the H5N1 virus. This will serve to protect people also so long as it is not toxic to human beings.