US invokes emergency act to keep H7N9 flu at bay

May 8, 2013; The New Scientist reports:

“THE US government has declared that H7N9 bird flu “poses a significant potential for a public health emergency”, and has given “emergency use authorisation” for diagnostic kits for the virus. This means tests can be used that haven’t gone through the usual lengthy approval process by the US Food and Drug Administration”

The magazine goes on to says that the level of concern should be high as the virus “provokes a weaker immune response than most flu, making vaccines hard to produce” Although not yet transmissible between people, the magazine says that the virus is possibly two mutations away from being being transmissible between mammals, as it has already three of the five mutations necessary to mammal to mammal transmission.

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