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Bird flu vaccine trial a huge success

by 5m Editor
21 May 2007, at 6:01pm

AUSTRALIA - Pharmaceutical company Imugene Ltd has achieved a perfect efficacy result in recent trials of its bird flu vaccine.

The Australian company has on Monday announced that 100 per cent of broiler chickens included in a trial of the avian influenza drug survived exposure to the deadly H5N1 virus.

The first dose of the drug was injected into the eggs of the trial group, and an oral booster was then given when the chickens were seven days old.

The birds were then exposed to a highly pathogenic Asian strain of the H5N1 avian influenza virus, with all showing no signs of the disease.

Seven out of eight unvaccinated chickens died when exposed to the virus as part of the trial, which took place in the United States.

Imugene managing director Dr Warwick Lamb said the company had achieved great progress early in the product's development, and would continue trials on the drug.

The company began testing in November last year.

"What's encouraging for us is that this is a huge leap forward from our first trial - we've made an enormous amount of progress just with this one trial," Dr Lamb said.

"Importantly, we have proven that Imugene's vaccine works when administered orally as well as when injected into chicken eggs and that we can protect birds from a young age.

"Both are major steps forward in product development."

Dr Lamb refused to speculate as to when the drug would appear on the market, but said Imugene was looking to licence the technology to one of the major animal health companies.

Imugene is developing two vaccines, one for broiler or meat producing birds, and the other for breeding and egg layer birds.

5m Editor