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Annu Rev Med. 2010;61:187-98. doi: 10.1146/annurev.med.050908.132031.

H5N1 Avian influenza: preventive and therapeutic strategies against a pandemic.

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  • 1Influenza Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA. ssambhara@cdc.gov


Avian influenza H5N1 viruses that have spread to a number of countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have the potential to cause a pandemic. The most effective public health intervention strategy is to combine preventive vaccination with nonpharmaceutical intervention strategies and enhanced surveillance activities. H5N1 vaccines are poorly immunogenic even at high doses; an adjuvant is needed for enhancement of immunogenicity and for dose-sparing. Lack of effective, yet safe, adjuvants is the limiting factor for candidate vaccines that utilize egg-dependent or egg-independent manufacturing technologies. Hence, developing novel adjuvants is crucial for pandemic influenza vaccine development. Although the use of antiviral drugs is also an important public health countermeasure for preventing and treating influenza, the emergence of drug-resistant strains of avian H5N1 viruses underscores the need to develop not only new drugs but other novel preventive and therapeutic strategies such as vaccines.

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