29 May 2017
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  • » 02/08/2005, 00.00

    CHINA

    Scientists hail new bird flu vaccines, with some doubts



    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Chinese scientists have developed two new vaccines for poultry and mammals to prevent the spread of bird flu, agricultural authorities have announced. The new jab is thought to protect chickens for at least 10 months, four months longer than existing drugs.

    The developers have said the vaccines represent a breakthrough in the fight against the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus. But sources connected to the research project said the vaccines were not necessarily more effective than one now being used, which was also developed by the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute.

    "Essentially there are no differences," said a source close to the institute's Key Lab of Animal Influenza, which developed the new vaccines. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the vaccines can protect chickens against bird flu for 10 months - four months longer than the existing vaccine. But the source said the 10 months' protection was achieved under laboratory conditions and "we would consider ourselves very lucky if that happens in the real world".

    He said tests also showed that the vaccines, which will soon go into use nationwide, did not protect ducks and geese as well as chickens, only providing protection for two or three months.

    The source said the real challenge was finding an effective drug to vaccinate highly mobile water fowl, which are believed to be a reservoir of bird flu but do not usually display symptoms, and stop the spread of the virus in rivers and lakes.

    The Harbin Veterinary Research Institute launched the vaccines mainly due to "market pressure", the source said. The institute, based in the capital of Heilongjiang province , was forced to come up with new products to help it reclaim some of the market share it lost last year after a challenge by rivals, the source said.

    The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed at least 45 people in Asia in the last year, including 13 in Vietnam in the past month. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has urged "all possible measures" to prevent the emergence of the disease in China. Although there have been no outbreaks reported in China so far this year, some places were not prepared for a possible outbreak, Xinhua said last month.

    Most bird flu victims have caught the virus from infected poultry, but experts fear it could mutate into a form that could easily pass between humans, unleashing a global flu pandemic that could kill millions.
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    See also

    10/01/2007 ASIA
    Indonesia, China, Vietnam: new bird flu victims
    There has been a death in Jakarta, a new case of human infection in Anhui and outbreaks of infection in southern Vietnam. Governments are not managing to stem the lethal virus.

    10/11/2005 ASIA
    Bird flu suspected in new death in Indonesia
    Virus is spreading in China despite government measures. New outbreaks reported in Liaoning province and Vietnam.

    18/10/2005 ASIA
    Alarm bells sound in the West but the frontline against the bird flu is in Asia
    Increasingly, voices are raised arguing that the fight against the bird flu must be carried out where it started, in South-East Asia. Countries in the region should be provided with the necessary aid. New cases of infected birds are being reported.

    27/10/2005 ASIA
    Suspected new cases of bird flu in humans in China and Thailand
    No official confirmation has been forthcoming. International discussions over countermeasures and antiviral drugs continue. Concern is mounting over the danger that the virus might spread to Africa.

    13/05/2005 INDONESIA
    Bird flu found in Indonesian pigs




    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan



    During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.


    VATICAN-CHINA
    May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.


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