Iowa biotech firm set to begin testing vaccine against deadly avian flu

Harrisvaccines, based in Ames, Iowa, is getting set to test an experimental vaccine that could protect poultry from H5N2, the deadly avian influenza that has affected nearly 34 million birds in the Midwest. The trials could begin as early as this week and are expected to last one to two months, said Joel Harris, head of sales and marketing for Harrisvaccines, in an interview with the Des Moines Register. The company has already begun mass production and expects to be able to supply the vaccine to the entire poultry industry, pending USDA approval. The vaccine can be injected into eggs, young birds, or even adults to prevent them from catching the virus, according to Harris. The USDA is considering allowing bird flu vaccinations in select states, a spokeswoman for the agency told the Register, but no timeline is in place for finalizing that decision. Article