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Harmless virus may help fight bird flu

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Sep 13, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Purdue University researchers say a harmless virus used as a delivery vehicle for vaccines might help prevent a pandemic of bird flu.

Purdue molecular virologist Suresh Mittal and colleagues are investigating a new way to provide immunity against avian influenza viruses, or bird flu. The most lethal strain, H5N1, has a 50-percent fatality rate in humans.

Under a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Purdue researchers are focusing on using adenovirus as a transmitting agent for a vaccine to fight such highly virulent strains of avian influenza.

A major advantage to using adenovirus is that it can be mass produced much more quickly than with current methods.

"The ultimate goal of our research is to develop an effective avian influenza virus vaccine that will provide long-lasting and broad immunity against multiple strains of this virus," Mittal said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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