Avian Flu: Pandemic Planning to Vaccine Development

GLOBE - The journal, Respirology, has launched a special supplementary issue specifically on avian influenza. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, the collection of papers provide an insight into the threat of the avian influenza pandemic by addressing a wide range of topics including the basic biology of the virus, updates on laboratory diagnosis and influenza anti-viral, treatment options, and pandemic planning.
calendar icon 9 April 2008
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Philip Thompson, editor of Respirology said, “The issues of the avian influenza cut across many disciplines and involve a huge amount of understanding and cooperation within and beyond the healthcare setting. We felt that is was necessary to examine this topic in a holistic manner by looking at avian influenza from basic biology right up to the planning of a potential pandemic crisis.”

The papers exploring the issue of pandemic planning look at past human infections that had resulted in severe acute pulmonary diseases and fatalities, effective management of the infection, its spectrum of clinical symptoms, the anti-virals available; as well as case studies from China and Thailand on how lessons learnt from past events such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) could be applied.

Author of the paper “Pandemic Planning: Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions” Dr. Donald Low, in his examination of employing non-pharmaceutical interventions to mitigate the pandemic, said “Since global availability of vaccines against pandemic influenza are likely to be insufficient, attention has shifted to the use of non-pharmaceutical public health interventions to contain infection, delay spread and reduce impact of the pandemic disease.” He recommends utilizing hygiene etiquette, human surveillance, case reporting, use of protective equipment, and isolation of the sick as possible preventative measures.

Associate Professor Paul Tambyah gives an update on the developments of the influenza vaccination in his paper, “Update on Influenza Vaccines” - giving an overview of the role of vaccination for pandemic influenza and the obstacles faced by the researchers in this field. He concludes that although the current system for influenza vaccine development leaves a lot to be desired, the investment flow into developing novel approaches such as reverse genetics and whole cell vaccines is in itself a good news story – possibly holding the key to successful pandemic control if rolled out in time.

Articles featured in this special supplement issue include:

  • Li-Cher Loh, David S.C. Hui & Richard Beasley, “INTRODUCTION: Avian influenza: From basic biology to pandemic planning”
  • Tomothy M. Uyeki, “Global epidemiology of human infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses”
  • David S. C. Hui, “Review of clinical symptoms and spectrum in humans with influenza A/H5N1 infection”
  • John M. Nicholls & J.S. Malik Peiris, “Avian influenza: Update on pathogenesis and laboratory diagnosis”
  • Paul A. Tambyah, “Update on influenza anti-virals”
  • David S. C. Hui, “Influenza A/H5N1 infection: Other treatment options and issues”
  • Curtis N. Sessler & Niclae D. Gray, “Intensive care management of life-threatening avian influenza A (H5N1)”
  • Nan-Shan Zhong & Guang-Qiao Zeng, “Pandemic planning in China: Applying lessons from severe acute respiratory syndrome”
  • Supamit Chunsuttiwat, “Response to avian influenza and preparedness for pandemic influenza: Thailand's experience”
  • Paul A. Tambyah, “Update on influenza vaccines”
  • Donald E. Low, “Pandemic planning: Non-pharmaceutical interventions”
This supplement is published in the March 2008 supplementary issue of Respirology, and is available free online: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/res/13/s1
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