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Homeland Security

Ukraine says bird flu vaccine almost ready

RIA Novosti

09/08/2007 18:00 KIEV, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine has almost completed clinical trials for a bird flu vaccine, the head of the Ukrainian State Veterinarian Department said Thursday.

Since 2003, when bird flu first hit countries in Asia, international experts feared the virus could mutate into a form that spread easily among people, sparking a global pandemic.

"Ukraine's biological industry has developed two types of bird flu vaccines," Hryhoriy Ivanov said. "The laboratory tests have proved successful, while we still have to conduct field tests."

Ukraine's Crimea autonomy is one of most vulnerable places for bird flu outbreaks, as migrant birds use the autonomy as a stopover during their migration. Last year bird flu outbreaks were registered in Crimea's 42 residential areas.

Ivanov added that it is highly likely the vaccine will work, as results of laboratory tests proved that the vaccine "is very effective."

Meanwhile, Russia completed the first phase of clinical trials for a human vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu virus in late March. Researchers said they had developed vaccine production techniques and commercial production could be started immediately in the event of a pandemic.

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