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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Japan : 10 million doses of avian flu vaccine expire a year

Via Asahi :

" Ten million doses of a vaccine to protect humans from contracting avian flu go to waste each year in Japan.

The cost of producing those vaccines comes to about 6 billion yen ($73 million). Disposing of them also costs money.

Some health experts suggest it would make more sense to administer the vaccines to volunteers rather than allow them to expire and scrap them.

Human cases of the highly pathogenic avian flu virus subtype H5N1 were first detected in Hong Kong in 1997.

According to the World Health Organization, 526 cases were reported as of March 2, with 311 deaths. That works out to about 60 percent of all patients.

Currently, H5N1 is not easily passed from human to human. However, a new highly fatal virus could set off a global pandemic if it undergoes genetic recombination with an easily transmittable virus such as the swine flu virus subtype H1N1."

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