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An experimental vaccine appears to be effective against a strain of flu virus that experts fear could spark a devastating pandemic, offering the first evidence that any inoculation could provide a powerful weapon against the deadly microbe, a federal health official said yesterday.
Two doses of the vaccine produced an immune system response potent enough to neutralize the virus in tests on 113 volunteers who were injected as part of a federally sponsored study being conducted at three U.S. universities.
Dead parrot did have killer strain of bird flu
The first case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has already killed 61 people in the Far East, has been identified in Britain.
Scientists confirmed last night that a parrot, imported from Surinam in South America, contracted and died from the disease while in a quarantine unit in southern England. The parrot, which died on 16 October, was part of a consignment of 148 birds imported from Surinam that had been housed in a quarantine unit along with 216 exotic birds from Taiwan, where the virus has been found...
A second parrot that died in quarantine was also tested at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey. Tissue from the two birds was pooled into one sample, so it is not known if only one or both was carrying the virus.
Ms Hewitt said it was incredibly important to be as prepared as possible. When asked if the country would "grind to a halt" if a pandemic occurred, she told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: "I think you're pointing very clearly there to the scale of the problems that could arise depending on just how bad a pandemic turned out to be. If you've got a pandemic flu ... anyone who's got any flu-like symptoms would be well advised to stay home and not spread it and people I think would be well advised to stay away from large crowds where, of course, there is the risk of the flu being spread. But these are things which we will make decisions on and give very detailed guidance if or when pandemic flu actually broke out."