Bird flu vaccine for poultry headed for 'total failure'

An outbreak of bird flu at a Hong Kong poultry farm is raising concerns as some of the birds that died had been vaccinated against the virus. That's an alarming sign that the vaccine may be losing its potency as new strains arise.

Microbiologists at the University of Hong Kong say the diseased chickens had only one quarter of the antibodies they found in vaccinated birds back in 2001. And one top scientist in Hong Kong says the vaccine appears headed for total failure.

"I'm disappointed because Hong Kong has done so well since this outbreak started," Peter Cordingley, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, told Time. "But this is a very versatile virus. It's on tractor wheels and in wild birds. It may be found on a farmer's boots. We've seen this virus embedded right across Asia."

Apparently there's no new vaccine to take the place of the old vaccine, and that raises the risk of a human epidemic.

- read the report from Time

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