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Combination Poultry Vaccine May Halt Avian Flu

Modified Newcastle disease vaccine protects from lethal dose of both viruses

WEDNESDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a bivalent vaccine for use in poultry that protects against both Newcastle disease and avian flu, and may help prevent the spread of avian flu to humans, according to a report published online May 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Angela Romer-Oberdorfer, from the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health in Germany, and colleagues inserted the hemagglutinin gene H5 from the pathogenic avian flu strain H5N2 into a vaccine that already exists for Newcastle disease, an economically important disease of poultry.

The resulting strain, called NDVH5m, stimulated an antibody response to both Newcastle disease virus and avian flu and protected chickens from a lethal dose of both viruses at 21 days post-inoculation. Furthermore, since the vaccine contains only H5 of avian flu virus, an assay detecting avian flu nucleoprotein can be used to discriminate between vaccinated and infected birds.

Since Newcastle disease vaccinations are already used to control the spread of the disease in poultry, NDVH5m may provide an efficient and cost-effective means of simultaneously preventing avian flu spread, the authors suggest.

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