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The World Health Organisation (WHO) is stepping up efforts to produce a vaccine against the avian flu strain now stalking Asia. The H5N1 virus has shown up in at least eight countries in the region.

As the virus is unsuitable for traditional vaccine production, the WHO team are using a novel method of genetic engineering. Flu vaccines produced in this way have never been tested on humans, however.

Nor will the vaccine appear soon: delays could arise from trials, and from negotiations with the various bodies that hold rights to parts of the production process.

Link to full news story in Science 

Reference: Science 303, 609 (2004)

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