Russian sanitary services take urgent measures to create bird flu vaccine

The situation in Russia in connection with birds' epizootic, caused by the virus, remains stable

The Russian Federal Service for Protection of Consumers and Human Welfare is taking measures to create the special influenza A (H5N1) or the bird flu vaccine.  

The head of the service, Gennady Onischenko, reported on Thursday that the special meeting of the experts on development of the vaccine had been held. “It was decided to prepare experimental samples of vaccine from the strain obtained form the reference laboratory of the World Health Organization (WHO) and certified there. This is done in order to study the possible application for treatment of patients”, Onischenko said.

He also said that “there are plans to study immunogenic properties of AH5N1 virus strains, received in Novosibirsk region”, Interfax reports.

According to the federal service, the epidemic situation in Russia in connection with birds' epizootic, caused by the virus, remains stable. There are no cases among people, the head of the service reported. 

In his words at the moment the habitat where the bird flu epizootic is spread includes seven Russian regions: Cheliabinsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tumen, Kurgan, Altai and Kalmykiya Republic.

Onischenko said that in Novosibirsk region particularly out of 27 of places where the birds' plague was registered there are two left, where it still goes on. In Cheliabinsk region, plague was registered in three villages. In Omsk region the number of places where the plague was registered changed from 12 to two since yesterday.

In Kalmykiya Republic the die-off of wild waterfowl was registered at the “Yuzhniy” game reserve and a hunter's household informed of the die-off of several geese. At the same time the head of the service reported, “There is no mass die-off of the wild waterfowl.” “People who live at the game reserve (five people) and in the nearest village (50 people) are under medical supervision. Virological research of the dead birds' material is conducted,” Onischenko emphasized.

The bird flu outburst in Russia destroyed 113 thousand birds by 17 August, The Federal Veterinary and Phitosanitary Service (Rosselhoznadzor) reports.

Its head Sergey Dankvert said that the preliminary analysis did not prove the diagnosis in Kalmykiya, ITAR-TASS reports. According to Dankvert the situation is more complex in the regions where plague had been registered earlier (Novosibirsk, Tumen, Omsk, Kurgan, Cheliabinsk and Altai).

Bird flu appeared in Novosibirsk region in Russia in July. The virus was carried there by the migrating wild birds. The disease, which is able to spread rapidly, soon spread on the territories of five more regions. 

The epidemic can affect economy seriously. In fact, Ukraine had banned exports of poultry meat from Russian and Kazakhstan, but then unbarred it. The EU has imposed its ban. It is reasonable to a certain degree, but it is more a political decision. When Russia banned EU exports of beef because of the hoof-and-mouth disease, Europe set up a clamor. So the bird flu in Russia will help to image Russia as a disadvantaged country in all respects.

For reference:

Bird flu virus was identified as a type of disease in 1997 in Hong Kong. At that time it was H5N1 virus that infected both people and chicken. Nine adults and nine children were hospitalized. Six people, including a child, died.

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Author`s name Olga Savka