Sask. scientists developing vaccines to protect birds and humans from avian flu – CBC

H5N1 has killed or infected 7.2M birds since 2021: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Apr 10, 2023

Yan Zhou has researched influenza viruses at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan for two decades, with nearly half of that time being spent looking into avian flu. She said there’s a relatively new strain causing urgent concern: H5N1.

“We have seen this contemporary H5N1 virus circulating in the world for several years, and now it seems this virus has gained ground in North America,” said Zhou, a senior research scientist and molecular biologist.

H5N1 has killed or infected 7.2 million birds across the country since Dec. 20, 2021, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In recent months, mammals have also died from the virus, including a dog in southern Ontario.

Health Canada has not reported any domestically acquired human cases of avian flu. However, it noted in a statement to CBC News that the federal government “has agreements with several manufacturers to secure priority access and reserve production capacity if needed to rapidly manufacture and deliver large numbers of vaccine doses to help protect people.”

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