By piggybacking components of strains of avian-influenza virus onto an existing poultry vaccine, scientists have created experimental vaccines that can prevent bird flu in chickens, two studies show.
While researchers will need to further test the novel vaccines in large numbers of fowl and against various subtypes of bird flu, the early results suggest that widespread vaccination of flocks could stall the spread of bird flu in animals, says molecular virologist Angela Römer-Oberdörfer of the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health in Riems, Germany, who coauthored one of the studies. "Controlling disease in poultry helps to avoid infection of humans," she says.
Previously developed poultry vaccines against influenza aren't widely used in the United States because they interfere with screening tests for ill animals.
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