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New uses for a dead vaccine, part 967
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

What do governments do with a vast and expensive stockpile of vaccines that they bought in anticipation of one of the annual health pandemics that never happened? Easy - you show that they are just as effective against any new flu scare doing the rounds today

What do governments do with a vast and expensive stockpile of vaccines that they bought in anticipation of one of the annual health pandemics that never happened? Easy - you show that they are just as effective against any new flu scare doing the rounds today.
Almost every year governments are caught out by the latest pandemic threat, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and pounds. Unfortunately, some of the vaccines bought to counter earlier health scares are fast reaching their sell-by date, and scrapping them just doesn't look good in these credit-crunch times.
One case in point is the stockpile for avian flu, 2004's health scare. The US alone stockpiled 20 million doses, designed to counter the 'Vietnam' variant of avian flu. Of course, flu viruses change all the time, and right now we have the 'Indonesian' strain of the flu.
Fortunately, researchers have come up with a solution that might just save the blushes of our health regulators. They have discovered that when you mix the old vaccine with a newer one, it still works against avian flu.
Trouble is, any pandemic is as far off as it ever was.
(Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2011; 203: 666).


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