The first report of human death associated with H5N1 was in 1997 in Hong Kong. As of January 2011, the World Health Organization reported 516 total cases and 306 deaths resulting from human infection with H5N1. Most cases have resulted from contact with birds, including those in live animal markets and poultry farms.
IDRI is applying our expertise in adjuvants to the development of an effective vaccine against H5N1. Our proprietary adjuvants are crucial to developing an H5N1 vaccine because the viral proteins alone do not stimulate an effective immune response and are therefore not useful as a stand-alone vaccine. We believe that our adjuvants will provide the critical ingredient for developing a vaccine that raises a protective immune response and prevents H5N1 infections.
In addition to enabling new vaccines, the ability to combine our adjuvants with existing stockpiled pandemic influenza vaccines could increase the number of available vaccine doses by reducing the amount of vaccine needed per individual. Combining our adjuvants with seasonal influenza vaccines enhances functional antibody responses and broadens the scope of antibody response. more
Making a Difference
IDRI's adjuvants could be the key to meeting the global demands for vaccine supply during a pandemic. Recent grant awards are allowing IDRI to validate this concept as well as share our adjuvants with international partners to support global demands.
About Pandemic Influenza (H5N1)
Most of the world's population has never been exposed to the "bird flu", also known as avian influenza caused by the H5N1 virus. The first report of human death associated with H5N1 was in 1997 in Hong Kong. As of January 2011, the World Health Organization reported 516 total cases and 306 deaths resulting from human infection with H5N1. Most cases have resulted from contact with birds, including those in live animal markets and poultry farms.
Currently, although the mortality rate once infected is high in humans, the transmission of the H5N1 virus from human-to-human remains low. This is mainly due to how the avian virus and the human host interact. The H5N1 virus more readily attaches to receptors on alveolar cells in the lower part of the respiratory tract, thus is less able to be transmitted by coughing and sneezing. Human influenza viruses, on the other hand, easily infect the upper airway allowing the virus to be spread more easily.
What is Needed to Prevent an Influenza Pandemic?
Efforts are underway to produce vaccines against H5N1. Stockpiles are being made to ensure that in the event of a pandemic, there will be enough vaccine for use. Stockpiles of stable adjuvants are also needed to help increase the stock of pandemic influenza vaccine(s) for worldwide use. In addition, efforts to control and limit the spread of virus in commercial poultry and live animal markets need to continue. Detailed emergency plans must be developed and implemented in communities to help disseminate vaccines and strategies that will prevent further spread of disease.