FDA approves first vaccine for prevention of H5N1 avian influenza

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza, which is commonly known as bird flu.

The vaccine is not intended for commercial availability, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has purchased the vaccine from ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec (a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) to hold within the National Stockpile. The vaccine is administered via intramuscular injection in two doses 21 days apart.

 

The H5N1 virus has been known to cause serious illness and death in people outside of the United States. Around 60% of people die once infected, according to the World Health Organization. H5N1 is considered to have pandemic potential because it infects wild birds with occasional outbreaks in poultry, and because most humans have no immunity against it. 

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