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Vietnamese Scientists Unravel Genetic Code Of Bird Flu Virus

Vietnamese scientists have successfully decoded the gene of the deadly H5N1 virus, an article in the local newspaper Youth has claimed.// If true, this news is really a shot in the arm in the global fight against bird flu and could herald in a better understanding of the variations and the mechanism of transmission of the bird flu virus. Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute and the Regional Veterinary Centre have claimed the distinction of being the first to decode the gene.

Officials of the state health department have reported the identification of two more new forms of the deadly virus. While H5 is the most commonly observed, two other forms designated as H3 and H4 have been identified from poultry samples. This finding adds evidence to the fact that the virus is emerging successfully in different genetic forms as the medical community keeps pondering over managing the global threat. In other words, it is emerging resistant to the currently available forms of treatment.

When a fowl is infected with all three forms of the deadly virus at the same time, the viruses can exchange their genes to create a new, powerful form that can be more dangerous according to health officials.

According to the health ministry, Vietnam has detected 65 human cases of bird flu infections, including 22 fatalities since 2004. The country’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology is very active in materializing the final formalities involved in the production of the H5N1 vaccines for protection against the disease.

The Hanoi based institute has also been involved in bird flu research since 2004 and proposes the use of the bird flu vaccines on a trail basis in early 2006. It has also been planned to churn out more than 20 to 50 million doses of the vaccine for use in the poultry farm next year according to the biotechnology institute's director Le Tran Binh.

With such agencies involved in constant research and develo pment, perhaps, in the future we will be able to win the battle against such small microorganisms that pose a serious threat to our survival. After all, it is nothing but an issue of survival of the fittest.

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