Scientists in the US are claiming to have produced a possible H5N1 bird flu vaccine which can be easily mass-produced. Current vaccines are made in fertilised eggs and can take up to six months to produce. Researchers in Atlanta say enough doses of the new product could be made to significantly reduce the risk of a pandemic among humans.
Global health officials fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into a strain that could pass easily between humans. It has spread westwards from Asia – several people in Turkey were among the latest victims.
Now tests carried out by a British laboratory on a dead Iraqi teenager have confirmed that she died of bird flu. Officials in the north of the country say they are treating a further 12 patients suspected of having bird flu.