Develop vaccines for all animal flu strains, says incoming WHO chief scientist


LONDON (Reuters) – Governments should invest in vaccines against all strains of the influenza virus present in the animal kingdom, the World Health Organization’s incoming chief scientist said on Monday.

Avian influenza outbreaks in the past year have caused record losses to poultry across the US, UK, France and Japan.

The recent spread of the H5N1 virus (commonly known as bird flu) to mammals needs to be monitored, but the risk to humans remains low, the WHO said earlier this month.

Incoming WHO chief scientist Jeremy Farrar said the pharmaceutical industry should make at least some I hope to conduct clinical trials.

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“I fear we’re watching in slow motion something that may never happen,” he added in a media briefing. Looking back at what we’re doing now, why would we say we didn’t do more?”

Farrar is a clinical scientist and most recently Director of the Wellcome Trust. He was appointed WHO chief scientist in December, and later this year he will officially join the WHO.

(Reporting by Natalie Glover, London; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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