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Egypt's Goal is for Bird Flu Vaccine in Two Years

by 5m Editor
5 May 2009, at 7:54a.m.

EGYPT - The authorities have announced that a vaccine against H5N1 avian influenza in poultry should be available within two years.

Egypt, a country hard hit by bird flu, is aiming to produce its own vaccine to protect poultry from the virus within two years, reports Zawya, citing the official MENA news agency.

The move was announced as Egypt struggles to stem the spread of the virus by changing the habits of people living in rural areas, where poultry is often raised by young girls or women on rooftops.

MENA said the National Research Centre director and the president of the Medical Products Society had signed a protocol to begin work on the vaccine, which it said would be available on the market within 18 months or two years.

Twenty-six people have died in Egypt from the H5N1 strain of bird flu since it was first identified in the Arab world's most heavily populated country in early 2006.

Egypt has also begun a mass slaughter of its 250,000 pigs for what it said were health reasons, denying it was because of the global outbreak of H1N1 swine flu. On 3 May, clashes broke out in Cairo between police and demonstrating pig farmers, an AFP correspondent said. No cases of H1N1 have been reported in the country.

Medical Products Society president, Mohammed Rabie, said Egypt uses one billion doses of anti-bird flu vaccine each year, and France donated more than 24.5 million doses in January.

Egypt has seen an increase in bird flu cases over the past two months. The World Health Organisation called in March for an investigation into why many of the victims have been young children.

Health ministry spokesman Abdurrahman Shahin last month described the situation as "worrying", reports Zawya.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.