Vaccine development against influenza A (h5n1) virus 'should be made a priority'

February 19, 2004

Two studies in this week's issue of THE LANCET raise questions about the transmission of avian influenza viruses from chickens to humans. Marion Koopmans (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands) and colleagues describe a large outbreak of avian influenza A/H7 in commercial poultry farms in the Netherlands in 2003. They note that the size of the outbreak, coinciding with peak activity of human influenza virus, reinforces the message that emergence of new pandemic influenza viruses might arise via the mixing of genes from avian and human viruses.

Marion Koopmans comments: ˜We noted an unexpectedly high number of transmissions of avian influenza A virus subtype H7N7 to people directly involved in handling infected poultry, and we noted evidence for person-to-person transmission. Our data emphasise the importance of adequate surveillance, outbreak preparedness, and pandemic planning".

In a Research letter (p 617), Malik Peiris (University of Hong Kong) and colleagues suggest that some avian influenza viruses pose a substantial threat to human health, and after the re-emergence of H5N1 disease in humans, the authors draw our attention to the need to develop a vaccine against the virus.

In a Commentary (p 582), Maria Zambon (Health Protection Agency, UK) states that influenza A transmission from animals to humans remains a rare event, but one which history teaches us we must take seriously to avoid a further pandemic of influenza like that of 1918.
-end-
Contact:

Dr Marion P G Koopmans, Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, 3720 Bilthoven, Netherlands. T) 31-30-274-2391; F) 31-30-274-2971; E) marion.koopmans@rivm.nl

Professor JSM Peiris, Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong; T) 852-2855-4888; F) 852-2855-1241; E) malik@hkucc.hku.hk

Professor Maria C Zambon, Virus Reference Laboratory, Health Protection Agency, 61 Colindale Avenue, LONDON NW9 5HT, UK; T) (HPA Press Office, Emily Collins) 44-20-8358-3002/3004; E) emily.collins@hpa.org.uk

Embargoed 0001 h (London time) 20 February 2004. In North America the embargo for Lancet press material is 6:30pm ET Thursday 19 February 2004.

Lancet

Related Influenza Articles from Brightsurf:

Predicting influenza epidemics
Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have developed a unique method to predict influenza epidemics by combining several sources of data.

Common cold combats influenza
As the flu season approaches, a strained public health system may have a surprising ally -- the common cold virus.

Scent-sensing cells have a better way to fight influenza
Smell receptors that line the nose get hit by Influenza B just like other cells, but they are able to clear the infection without dying.

New antivirals for influenza and Zika
Leuven researchers have deployed synthetic amyloids to trigger protein misfolding as a strategy to combat the influenza A and Zika virus.

Assessment of deaths from COVID-19, seasonal influenza
Publicly available data were used to analyze the number of deaths from seasonal influenza deaths compared with deaths from COVID-19.

Obesity promotes virulence of influenza
Obesity promotes the virulence of the influenza virus, according to a study conducted in mice published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Influenza: combating bacterial superinfection with the help of the microbiota
Frenc researchers and from Brazilian (Belo Horizonte), Scottish (Glasgow) and Danish (Copenhagen) laboratories have shown for the first time in mice that perturbation of the gut microbiota caused by the influenza virus favours secondary bacterial superinfection.

Chemists unveil the structure of an influenza B protein
MIT chemists have discovered the structure of an influenza B protein called BM2, a finding that could help researchers design drugs that block the protein and help prevent the virus from spreading.

How proteins help influenza A bind and slice its way to cells
Researchers have provided new insight on how two proteins help influenza A virus particles fight their way to human cells.

Eating elderberries can help minimize influenza symptoms
Conducted by Professor Fariba Deghani, Dr. Golnoosh Torabian and Dr.

Read More: Influenza News and Influenza Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.