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August 08, 2005

Vaccine Alone Won't Stem Avian Flu, Experts Warn - New York Times

Health officials, who over the weekend announced success in an initial test of a human vaccine against avian influenza, cautioned Sunday that the existence of a vaccine in itself would not be enough to avert a worldwide pandemic. They said countries need to quickly organize ways to give the shots when they become available, a task that will take coordination, money and more scientific work. But they also emphasized that additional steps must be taken to better prepare for a possible worldwide epidemic of the respiratory disease, whether it is caused by the strain of avian influenza that has been spreading though birds in Asia and Russia, known as A(H5N1), or by another strain. In issuing dire predictions during the past two years about the devastation that an influenza pandemic might cause, a number of infectious disease experts and others have said development of a vaccine was an imperative. Now in the wake of the announcement, officials and scientists said in interviews, the critical factor is timing: If a pandemic strikes before the vaccine becomes widely available, it still will put millions of people at risk. Further tests need to be conducted before the vaccine can be licensed and offered to the public.

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Posted by dymaxion at August 8, 2005 12:25 PM

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