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Swine flu genetics suggest a vaccine is possible

A vaccine would be at least months away

4:57pm, May 1, 2009

Genetic sequences of the swine flu virus sickening people worldwide show remarkable similarities from country to country, suggesting that all the infections are from the same strain. The finding is a dose of good news for those seeking to make a vaccine against this novel strain of influenza, U.S. health officials reported May 1 during a press teleconference.

“All of the genes of all the viruses we’ve examined are 99 to 100 percent identical," says Nancy Cox, chief of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “This means it will be somewhat easier to produce an influenza vaccine." The lab tested swine flu virus strains from six countries.

Cox said that while a decision to make a vaccine specifically targeting the new virus hasn’t yet been made, the agency is taking steps toward that goal with the expectation that the flu will continue to spread. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s interim deputy director for

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