New Delhi: A global vaccine for the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza was in the final stages of clinical trials and would be licensed very soon, the World Health Organization has said.
There are two ways of growing the virus -- first is through developing it in eggs, second is through cells, WHO Assistant Director General David Heymann told PTI here.
“The egg-based vaccines are in the final stages of clinical trials and they would be licensed very soon. The cell-based ones would take probably an year or so,” he said.
“Once these vaccines are available, industrialized countries have a tendency to stockpile them. The WHO is setting up a stockpile of H5N1 vaccine so that we can respond to an early pandemic, if it is caused by the H5N1 strain and then pass it on to developing countries,” Heymann said on the sidelines of a conference on Avian flu.
But according to him, since there is no guarantee that the next pandemic will be caused by the H5N1 strain, it was wrong to say that the one being developed was an avian flu vaccine.
“It (the pandemic) can be caused by H7 or H9 or any other strain, thus our advisory board has asked us not to vaccinate the entire population by it,” he said adding, “It should be instead called an H5N1 vaccine”.
On the time period by which the vaccine would be available in developing countries, Heymann said, it depends on whether the developing countries are able to transfer the technology fast.