US races to make vaccine against new bird flu – just in case
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Less than two weeks after Chinese officials released the genetic sequence of a new type of bird flu, U.S. vaccine experts are well on the way to making a vaccine to protect people against it.
There’s no evidence the H7N9 virus would ever threaten the U.S. It’s been diagnosed in fewer than three dozen people, all restricted to eastern China. People don’t appear to be infecting one another, at least not in large numbers.
But it’s already killed nine of them. Scientists said Wednesday that the virus seems to have been the result of genetic reassortment of wild birds from east Asia and chickens from east China, Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency reported. Still, it doesn’t seem to be making birds sick — which means authorities don’t have tell-tale die-offs of poultry to warn them when it’s circulating.
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