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
  • 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.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together this page with critical information to help answer your key questions about OSHA recordkeeping.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We put together a guide that’s easy to digest so you can ensure you're complying with OSHA's training standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus