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  3. Bird flu vaccine may still be 5 years away

The potential short-term demand for face masks to prevent the airborne spread of bird flu germs may not depend on the outcome of tests on what scientists hope will be a revolutionary new anti-flu vaccine.

Developed by scientists at Acambis in Cambridge, the drug is intended to fully protect against all strains of flu, including the deadly H5N1 strain, the Daily Mail reports.

However, even if the tests are successful, the vaccine may not be available for five years, too late if a pandemic were to occur sooner.

Doctors and scientists fear that the H5N1 strain might mix with human flu to produce a mutant strain, which could then be passed from human to human, resulting in millions of deaths.

Last month, Survival UK, a supplier of protective face masks, advised businesses to 'consider health and hygiene measures' when dealing with bird flu, rather than hoping existing flu vaccines would work.


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