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Taiwan Reports First Human Case Of New Bird Flu Strain; Researchers Report Encouraging Results From H7N9 Vaccine Trial

“A woman in Taiwan has become the first person in the world with a confirmed case of a new strain of bird flu, adding to a growing body of evidence of the potential threat from animal viruses that mutate to be able to infect people,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 11/13). “The latest version is called H6N1, and represents the first time that this strain of bird flu has jumped from birds to people,” TIME notes (Park, 11/13). “The patient recovered and no other cases have been detected,” but “the Lancet Respiratory Medicine report said ‘intensive’ monitoring of bird flu was needed,” according to BBC News (Gallagher, 11/14).

“On a more hopeful front, two pharmaceuticals separately reported encouraging results from human tests of a possible vaccine against [H7N9,] a different type of bird flu that has been spreading in China since first being identified last spring, which is feared to have pandemic potential,” the Associated Press writes (Cheng, 11/14). “The encouraging results in the early stage trial from Novavax, a biopharmaceutical company based in Rockville, Maryland, were published online in the New England Journal of Medicine,” Reuters notes in a separate article, and describes the trial (Begley, 11/13).