Scientists make bird flu breakthrough

Published: June 4, 2008 | 7124th good news item since 2003

A HONG Kong research team has successfully tested a new drug combination that could help tackle the deadly bird flu virus in humans, scientists said in a paper due to be published tomorrow.

The use of three drugs together dramatically increased the survival rate of mice who had been infected with the deadly H5N1 virus, the University of Hong Kong team said in a paper to be published a United States-based journal.

And the treatment could help improve the survival chances of people infected with the deadly virus if the success can be replicated in humans, the paper said.

“Triple therapy offers some hope for surviving the devastating consequences associated with a pandemic influenza outbreak,” the 13-person team said in a paper to be released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team tested the drug combination on mice injected with lethal doses of the bird flu virus. They found that the drug combination increased survival rates from 13.3 per cent to 53.3 per cent when given after a delay of 48 hours.

The mortality of people infected with bird flu varies between 45 and 81 per cent, the paper said.

Several major pharmaceutical companies have been working on a vaccine to prevent the disease, which has killed more than 240 people, mainly in Asia, since 2003, according to the World Health Organisation.

Published in Science & Technology
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