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warning to all

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    Vietnam culls 10,600 poultry in new bird flu fight
    24 December 2004

    HANOI: Bird flu has been found in six provinces in Vietnam in the past 20 days and more than 10,000 birds have been culled to prevent the deadly virus from spreading and infecting humans, Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said.

    Experts, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), have warned of an Asian bird flu pandemic which could kill millions of people. Many say that the onset of cooler weather could lead to the virus spreading.

    In a directive seen by Reuters yesterday, Phat wrote that the virus had been found in seven communes in six southern provinces in the Mekong Delta in December and more than 10,600 poultry culled in an attempt to prevent it spreading.

    "Weather changes, especially falling temperatures, make good conditions for the bird flu virus," he said in the directive sent to all provinces. "That is why the disease has increased in December from November and October."

    The heavy movement of poultry in the lead-up to the Tet, or Lunar New Year, festival in February could also spread the virus, Phat said.

    A total of 32 people - 20 in Vietnam and 12 in Thailand - have died of bird flu this year.

    All but one of the known human victims caught it from direct exposure to infected fowl. The other was a Thai woman thought to have got it from cradling her dying daughter all night.

    But the experts fear the H5N1 virus could get into an animal, most probably a pig, also capable of hosting a human flu virus. The two could then breed a mutant strain to which the planet's human population had no immunity.

    Such a pandemic could kill millions, WHO officials say.

    Bird Flu Vaccine Back on Track
    Investigations into the failure of the Avian Influenza Vaccine pilot trial reveal a
    defect in the initial batch of the vaccine
    17 November 2004, Sydney: Imugene (ASX IMU) today announced that
    analysis of the initial batch of the test vaccine used in the recent Avian Influenza
    pilot trial (reported in October 2004) revealed a batch defect which is now being
    corrected. Whilst uncommon, technical defects in early batches can occur with
    this technology and can be resolved.
    “The pilot trial results were unexpected. We now know that it was the batch
    rather than the actual vaccine that was the problem with the pilot trial,” stated Dr
    Warwick Lamb, Managing Director of Imugene. “The gene used is the correct
    protective gene and once we get correct expression of this gene, we expect
    effective protection against the Avian Influenza.”
    “Reconstruction of a new batch of the vaccine will soon commence and trials are
    expected to be underway early in 2005. The new batch will be tested at several
    stages to ensure that the defect has been corrected. This will ensure that the
    protective gene will express as expected,” said Dr Lamb. “With this news and the
    recent success in gaining a $250,000 BIF grant to develop the Avian Influenza
    Vaccine, we remain very optimistic that we can develop an effective vaccine
    against bird flu.”
    More information:
    Dr Warwick Lamb, Mr Graham Dowland,
    Imugene's Managing Director Imugene's Executive Chairman
    +61 2 9870 7330 +61 8 9322 9189
    Mr Rudi Michelson
    Monsoon Communications
    +61 3 9620 3333
    ABN: 99 009 179 551
    Level 1, 14 – 20 Delhi Road, North Ryde NSW 2113
    PO Box 307, North Ryde NSW 1870
    Tel: +61 2 9870 7330 Fax: +61 2 9888 9338
    Imugene specialises in commercialising animal health products for production
    animals and pets.
    Imugene's products safely prevent disease and reduce or eliminate antibiotics
    and harmful chemicals in animals. Animal antibiotics and chemicals in the
    human food chain have been linked to the emergence of dangerous resistant
    bacteria in people and food residues.
    Imugene owns the worldwide rights to two platform technologies. The Receptor
    Mimic Technology for gastrointestinal diseases of pigs and potentially all other
    animal species. Secondly, the Adenoviral Vector Delivery System for pigs and
    poultry delivers Imugene’s highly effective poultry productivity enhancer.
    Imugene's poultry and pig portfolio is targeting a worldwide US$3 billion annual
    market and replace existing chemical and antibiotic products. Consumer
    demands for residue free food and health regulatory pressures will bolster
    Imugene's prospects.
    Visit the Imugene Website:
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