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Bird Flu Vaccine Trials In Australia

A vaccine, to prevent the attack of the deadly bird flu virus, will be tested on Australians in bigger doses, after the initial trial reports announce it safe and effective//.

A trial of the human vaccine, developed by Melbourne pharmaceutical manufacturer, CSL, against the lethal H5N1 virus, have begun by the scientists in Perth. The vaccine could prove a powerful weapon in the fight against bird flu and is the only one of its kind, being developed in the southern hemisphere.

. Initial tests, conducted by Melbourne researchers, found the vaccine to be effective with little side effects.

Study leader Dr Peter Richmond said: "In the initial trial a small dose of the vaccine generated a good immune response in about half the participants,”

"In this trial we will increase the dosage to see if it promotes good immunity in a larger proportion of participants," he added.

"Even with the increase, the total amount of vaccine is still the same as what would be found in conventional flu vaccines."

He said volunteers would receive two doses of the vaccine, in a gap of three weeks. "They will then have blood tests over the following year to check their immunity."

“If results were positive, stocks would then be manufactured to have on hand to protect against a possible bird flu pandemic” Dr Richmond said.

"While there hasn't been any case of bird flu being spread from human to human, it's important that we're not complacent and (we'll) keep working to find ways to protect our community from a possible pandemic," he said.

"The best preparation is to have a vaccine available that is proven to be safe and effective - and that's our aim." he said.


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