FDA Findings Contribute Insights into Avian Flu Virus

An in-depth analysis of blood from patients recovering from the H5N1 avian influenza virus has provided important insights into how to combat the potentially lethal virus.

The findings by the Food and Drug Administration scientists and collaborators better explain what part of the "bird flu" virus is seen by the immune system once a person becomes infected. As one result of this research, a protein of the bird flu virus called PB1-F2 was identified as a potentially potent target for attack by immune systems to stop the spread of the virus.

"Analysis of blood from patients recovering from the H5N1 avian influenza virus can lead to new tools for testing the potential protective activity of vaccines under development," said Karen Midthun, M.D., acting director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). "The findings could also lead to new tests to detect infections, and improved therapies."

Since 2003, more than 400 people worldwide have been infected with the bird flu virus. About 60 percent of them have died. No cases of avian flu have been reported in the United States. Most of the avian flu infections in humans involve people who have had direct contact with infected poultry. However, there is a potential risk for a global influenza pandemic should the virus acquire the ability to spread directly from person to person.

The researchers adapted an existing technique using genetically modified viruses (phages) to create a library of fragments representing all of the proteins found in the H5N1 virus. Scientists mixed these fragments with antibodies from five Vietnamese patients recovering from the H5N1 infection and observed which fragments attracted the patient's antibodies.

Several targets that are likely to trigger strong antibody responses to the H5N1 virus were identified, including PB1-F2, a protein that researchers believe contributes significantly to the virus's ability to cause disease.

"We believe this is the first evidence of the human immune system reacting this strongly against PB1-F2," said Hana Golding, Ph.D., chief of CBER's Laboratory of Retrovirus Research and senior author of the article. "This is an indication that it may be a good target for a drug or vaccine."

The study, titled "Antigenic Fingerprinting of an H5N1 Avian Influenza Using Convalescent Sera and Monoclonal Antibodies reveals Potential Vaccine and Diagnostic Targets," appears in the April 20, 2009, edition of the online journal PLoS Medicine. To view it, click here.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark CP

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue