Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Good vs. Evil (Viruses): Adenovirus Possibly Key in Beating down H5N1

A molecular virologist from Purdue University, Suresh Mittal, is investigating a new way to provide broader immunity to various strains of the influenza virus by using adenovirus as the transmitting agent. There are multiple benefits of converting adenovirus into an avian flu vaccine. One: adenovirus can be grown in large amounts quickly -- unlike vaccines made via fertilized chicken eggs which take a couple months. H5N1 infects chickens too, so this mode of creating vaccines would be completely compromised in the event of a pandemic. Two: adenovirus can hold avian flu viral components and provide a broad range of immunity from multiple strains of avian influenza; current vaccines made with eggs only target one particular strain, which is problematic considering the H5N1 virus is ever mutating. If Mittal is successful with this vaccine, concerns about worldwide mortality and morbidity in what scientists view as an inevitable avian influenza outbreak will be greatly assuaged.

-Tad Henry

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