Our scientists work to find swine flu vaccine

SCIENTISTS at a medical research facility in South Mimms are taking centre stage in the UK's battle against swine flu. The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), in Blanche Lane, has confirmed it will be working to develop a vacc

SCIENTISTS at a medical research facility in South Mimms are taking centre stage in the UK's battle against swine flu.

The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), in Blanche Lane, has confirmed it will be working to develop a vaccine for the virus, which reached British shores earlier this week.

To date, two cases of the disease, which has killed more than 150 people in Mexico, have been confirmed in Scotland.

A number of other suspected cases are being monitored across the UK, while the disease has also been reported in Canada, the US and Spain. The disease can be treated using antiviral drugs, but it is the search for a vaccine that is occupying researchers at NIBSC. A spokeswoman said: "Following the outbreaks in Mexico and other countries, part of the response involves NIBSC carrying out research on developing a vaccine candidate. "On receipt of the new virus, NIBSC scientists working in the flu group will use reverse genetics and classical approaches to develop a candidate that can be used to produce vaccine against this new virus. "Fast work on this is essential in order to produce a vaccine as quickly as possible to provide protection to the public from the spread of the virus."


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Swine flu is a respiratory disease in pigs which does not normally infect humans.

The symptoms are similar to those of normal flu and include fatigue, fever, aching joints and coughing.

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It cannot be contracted by eating infected meat and can be treated using drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza.

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