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Can A Vaccine Help Protect From Bird Flu?

Aug 17, 2007
Well, yes, and No.
An effective Vaccine against pandemic(world wide) Avian(bird flu)virus is not yet available.
Vaccines are produced each year for seasonal influenza but will not protect against pandemic influenza.

Although a vaccine against the H5N1 virus is under development in several countries, no vaccine is ready for actual use. No vaccines are expected to be widely available until several months after the start of a pandemic.

This is because vaccinations are made by actually utilizing the Specific virus that they are protecting you against. It's very specific.
A vaccination against polio won't protect you from a cold. If no one is sick, they can't take a sample and make a vaccination to combat it. Every year health authorities take virus strains that hit various populations,the previous year, and mix them together. They then make a vaccination out of it and hope for the best.
When a totally different type of virus shows up it's a whole new ball game.

Some clinical trials, are now under way, to test whether experimental vaccines will work. Because the vaccine needs to closely match the pandemic virus, large-scale commercial production will not start until the new virus has emerged and a pandemic has been declared. Current global production capacity falls far short of the demand expected during a pandemic.

What drugs are available now for treatment?

Two drugs (in the neuraminidase inhibitors class), oseltamivir (commercially known as Tamiflu) and zanamivir (commercially known as Relenza) can reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by seasonal influenza. The efficacy of Tamiflu (neuraminidase inhibitors) depends on taking it within 48 hours after symptom onset. For cases of human infection with H5N1, the drugs may improve survival, if administered early, but knowledge is limited. The H5N1 virus is expected to be susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitors.

An older class of antiviral drugs, the M2 inhibitors amantadine and rimantadine, could potentially be used against pandemic influenza, but resistance to these drugs can develop rapidly and this could significantly limit their effectiveness against pandemic influenza. Some currently circulating H5N1 strains are fully resistant to these the M2 inhibitors. However, should a new virus emerge through reassortment, the M2 inhibitors might help.

For Tamiflu (neuraminidase inhibitors), the main problem is limited production capacity and high prices for many countries. At present
manufacturing capacity, which has recently quadrupled, it will take a decade to produce enough Tamiflu (oseltamivir) to treat 20% of the world's population. The manufacturing process for oseltamivir is complex and time-consuming, and is not easily transferred to other facilities.

So far, most fatal cases of H5N1 infection has resulted from the effects of the virus, and cannot be treated with antibiotics.
However, influenza is often complicated by secondary bacterial infection of the lungs, antibiotics could be life-saving. WHO regards it as prudent for countries to ensure adequate supplies of antibiotics in advance.

A wise Herbal protection would be to take Astragalus Root as a daily protective tonic. This TCM(Traditional Chinese Medicine)root is well known and researched to dramatically boost Immune Protection and even fight infection.
Known as HuangQi(pronounced "WongChi"), Astragalus
is a TCM Herb, prescribed as a tonic, for centuries, for strength and vitality. Taken as a tea or tincture, two to three times daily,
Astragalus can boost your ability to protect and fight flu in general.
Honeysuckle(Lonicera, in Latin), is a powerful antibiotic herbal. Yes, the pretty ,sweet smelling yellow, or pink flower is a serious antiviral medicine. The Chinese have used the unopened buds, known as JinYinHua for centuries to combat infection.
About the Author
A.Levine RNMH is a Nurse and medical Researcher for over 20 years. Read more about bird flu at http://www.BirdFlu-Xpert.com .To learn about Chinese herbs go to http://www.ChineseMedicineHerbs.info
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