New strain of H5N1 lacks vax protection

Scientists have discovered a mutant strain of the bird flu, which has been observed in China and Vietnam, and the variant is different enough that current vaccines won't protect against it.

So far, the strain is contained within poultry and birds, but H5N1- name given to the new strain--could transfer to people. "There is a human H5N1 vaccine candidate that is a (WHO) recommended vaccine...But it doesn't confer full protection against the (new variant)," said virologist Malik Peiris of the University of Hong Kong, as quoted by Reuters. The news outlet noted 8 people have been infected with H5N1 in Cambodia this year, and all have died.

H5N1 previously made headlines when the virus spread to 63 countries from 2003 to its peak in 2006. Reported cases of the flu strain have risen consistently since 2008.

- check out the Reuters coverage
- and here's the Chron post