Bird Flu shot on the cards for '07

Drugs company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced it has developed a human vaccine against the H5N1 strain of influenza, effective in small enough doses to make mass-production a possibility by 2007.

H5N1 is transmitted from birds to humans, and people in close contact with infected poultry, such as farm workers and veterinarians are most at risk. These workers may be immunised first should an outbreak occur.

The H5N1 strain cannot be passed from human-to-human, but fears for a global influenza pandemic stem from the possibility that the virus will mutate. The effectiveness of the vaccine on mutations, as well as national variations in the virus, will form the next stage of GSK's research.

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