Australia develops vaccine for humans hit by bird flu

June 17th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Canberra, June 17 (Xinhua) Australia has developed a vaccine to protect humans against infection by the avian influenza virus, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said here Tuesday. “The first Australian-made vaccine to protect humans from future bird flu pandemics has been granted approval for use in the event, of course, of an avian influenza outbreak,” Roxon told reporters.

The vaccine, developed by CSL Biotherapies Australia, is expected to protect humans against the H5N1 strain of influenza responsible for outbreaks of bird flu in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, Roxon said.

“We know, of course, that if there is an outbreak that affects Australians, we need to make sure that we are properly prepared,” she said.

More than Australia $160 million (US$150 million) have been provided in this year’s federal budget to replenish Australia ’s vaccine stockpile.

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