Via The Egyptian Gazette: Egypt produces new avian flu vaccine. Excerpt:
Egypt heads the list of global deaths due to infection with the H5N1 avian flu virus, followed by Indonesia and then Vietnam. Since the virus hit Egypt in February 2006, 60 million birds have been officially culled to date and the costs of poultry production have continuously risen.
Given this background, a welcome announcement was made yesterday by the National Research Centre (NRC) in Cairo of the first vaccine against what is popularly known as ‘bird flu’ to be produced by Egyptian scientists. The Government has been importing vaccine at high prices so as to fight this national problem and the new vaccine is now available in the local market at LE305 (about $60) for 100 doses.
The conference was attended by the Minister of Scientific Research Dr Nadia Zakhary, head of Veterinary Services Authority Dr Osama Selim and the head of NRC Dr Ashraf Shaalan.
The scientists stressed that the vaccine produced by the NRC research team has proved its effectiveness, reaching 95 per cent. The imported vaccine achieved an efficacy rate ranging from 20 to 25 per cent, because of the type of virus hitting poultry in Egypt and the vaccine being produced far from the local environment.
Dr Ashraf Shaalan, stressed that the vaccine produced by the Egyptian researching team is appropriate for the type of virus hitting the poultry wealth and could be updated to meet the modification of the virus, according to its genetic properties.
He remarked that the new vaccine was produced by a technology based on genetic engineering to improve the immunity of local birds against the virus, if carried by migrating birds. Dr Shaalan noted that the vaccine has been patented and recorded at the world genetic bank.