Bird Flu Vaccines: An Overview

The Bird Flu virus is the latest virus that has caught the eye of various health officials. There are about 15 strains of bird flu virus; however the deadly threat they have been currently monitoring is the H5N1 strain.

The H5N1 strain is causing the biggest scare because the health officials are thinking about what could happen to those birds could happen to us humans. The threat of having a number of infected people die within a matter of days is really terrifying.

That situation could only be mirrored on things like the movies or the 1918-19 pandemic. The 1918-19 pandemic of the Spanish flu killed 40 million of the 500 million infected. That situation was like a massacre on a world wide stage.

The 1918-19 pandemic is what we are all trying to avoid. That’s why even though few people have acquired the deadly virus; it has been a cause of concern. All around the world, the few people that have contacted the virus, only 6 have lived so far. That’s how scary it is.

Currently when the bird flu becomes a world wide pandemic, we are in so much trouble. That is because we have no vaccines for this kind of threat yet. Just an added fact, every year we need to get a new flu shot because the flu virus can outwit those medicines. They can develop into a new strain requiring a new flu shot.

What makes the bird flu much dangerous is that they combine with a human flu virus. If that happens the transmission of the virus from bird to human or human to human could even become faster.

Currently there are lots of companies that are showing initiative to create a vaccine. All of these companies are being backed by their respective government. However, these drugs are way far from being perfect yet. They are still two to three years away. So where do we stand now if the bird flu virus hits?

There is a bird flu virus that works like a vaccine for the seasonal flu; however it is still on clinical trials. The vaccine is already required to be taken at least two doses of 90 micrograms, a month apart. So if an outbreak does occur, the amount of vaccine will not be enough.

The manufacturers are not capable of producing a whole lot of this vaccine at a very quick period if a worldwide pandemic does occur. The manufacturers could only produce 250 million at a rate of 5 million a week.  It is just enough to vaccine only 11 percent of the whole U.S. population.

Currently, scientists are constantly figuring out how to develop a vaccine that can be taken at much fewer doses.

There is another company working on a vaccine, however it requires an adjuvant. An adjuvant is a chemical such as aluminum. It is attached to the vaccine to help boost the immune system. When the immune system is increased the doses of the vaccine could be reduced and produced quickly.

Another company is using a technique called reverse genetics. Its aim is to create a backbone or platform against all the 15 strains of the flu virus. Their main philosophy is to create one vaccine for all the different kinds of strains.

That’s all we have against the bird flu. We just better pray that a vaccine is found before the pandemic occurs.