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Vaccine Protects from Deadly Hendra Virus

CSIRO scientists have shown that a new experimental vaccine helps to protect horses against the deadly Hendra virus.

Dr Deborah Middleton from CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) announced the successful progress to develop the vaccine at the Australian Veterinary Association conference in Adelaide on May 17, 2011.

"Our trials so far have shown that the vaccine prevents the infection of horses with Hendra virus," Dr Middleton said.

Stopping the disease in horses could also help protect people from the disease.

"A horse vaccine is crucial to breaking the cycle of Hendra virus transmission from flying foxes to horses and then to people, as it prevents both the horse developing the disease and passing it on," Dr Middleton said.

Hendra virus first appeared in 1994 and five of the 14 known outbreaks have spread to people. The virus has killed four of the seven people infected.

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