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H5N1 research may not aid in the development of vaccines

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"Now that laboratory studies have yielded a glimpse of H5N1 flu viruses that might spread rapidly in humans and cause a devastating pandemic, vaccine makers will be better prepared if one develops. Or will they?

It is an appealing argument, and one that some scientists have made in recent weeks as controversy has swirled over two experiments that created H5N1 strains able to spread in mammals. But most experts contacted by Nature say that the work is unlikely to speed up the vaccine response in a pandemic. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, calls such expectations “a red herring”."

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