Vaccine for avian flu gets FDA OK

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 7, 2007

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first vaccine for humans against the H5N1 influenza virus, also called avian flu.

The vaccine could be used in case the currently circulating H5N1 virus develops the capability to be transmitted easily from human to human. Since the virus likely will mutate, the new vaccine might provide only limited protection in case of a pandemic.

Although there have not been any reported cases of human infection with H5N1 in the United States, nearly 300 people worldwide have been infected since 2003, and more than half have died.

The new vaccine was obtained from a human strain and is intended for immunizing people 18 to 64 years old. It consists of two intramuscular injections given about one month apart.

The vaccine has been purchased by the federal government for inclusion in the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile for distribution by public health officials if needed.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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