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Five Spanish hospitals in international phase III trial with H5N1 influenza pandemic vaccine

change is produced or a new version of the gene appears, an antigenic change is capable of triggering a worldwide epidemic, called pandemic. Influenza virus with a pandemic potential could appear by direct transfer of an animal virus to humans, -as happened in the "Spanish Influenza" that in 1918 caused death to 5% of the world population- or by a genetic reassortment between human and animal viruses. Such genetic reassortment would have place in a host co-infected by two different viruses.

The probability that a pandemic human virus is generated is now low, but the risk exists, and it is increased when cases of animal flu are found in humas, such in the case of H5N1. The hundred of death cases documented until now can give an idea of the potential danger we are facing. Furthermore, there are two circumstances that worsen this situation: this virus can mutate rapidly, and the fowl surviving the infection excrete the virus intensely through respiratory secretions and faeces during at least 10 days. Because of all this, it is important to make a both scientific and economic effort in order to obtain the best weapons to combat a possible definitive adaptation to humans of the H5N1 virus. In any case, this effort led by Spain, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Russia, France and Estonia will permit to improve the available tools in order to face this or future pandemics.


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Contact: lex Argem
aargemi@clinic.ub.es
34-93-227-5700
IDIBAPS - Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer
4-May-2006


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