FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 in Vietnam, VLP vaccine plant opening

Nov 10, 2011

H5N1 hits birds in Vietnamese village
Vietnam's animal health ministry today reported an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at a village in Nghe An province, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The virus sickened 1,803 birds, which were destroyed to help contain the spread of the disease. Nghe An is in northern Vietnam. Authorities haven't determined the source of the outbreak. Vietnam reported its last H5N1 outbreaks on Sep 5, which struck birds in Quang Ngai, Quang Tri, and Thai Binh provinces.
Nov 10 OIE report from Vietnam
In other developments, Iran's agriculture ministry today updated the OIE on its investigations of three H5N1 outbreaks that struck birds in Mazandaran province last month. No new outbreaks have been reported. Officials said this time of year the province hosts migratory birds from northern locations. Mazandaran province is in northern Iran on the Caspian Sea
Nov 10 OIE report from Iran

Medicago set to open US factory for making plant-based VLP flu vaccines
A factory that will make virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccines using plants will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov 14, Medicago USA announced today. The facility, in Research Triangle Park, N.C., began operating Sep 13, said the company, a subsidiary of Quebec-based Medicago Inc. The 97,000-square-foot facility has a fully automated greenhouse along with extraction and purification equipment for producing recombinant vaccine antigens in non-transgenic plants, the company said. It is designed to produce 40 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine or 120 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine per year. In August 2010 the US Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Medicago a $21 million grant to build the plant. The firm reported positive results from a phase 2 clinical trial of its H5N1 avian flu vaccine in June of this year and recently reported good results in a phase 1 trial of an H5N1/seasonal flu vaccine candidate, the announcement said.
Nov 10 Medicago press release
Aug 10, 2010, CIDRAP News item about DARPA grant

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