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More avian flu research at UC

The UCLA Center for Vaccine Research is conducting clinical testing of a bird flu vaccine. It is one of three sites nationwide selected by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to conduct such testing.

UC Cooperative Extension advisers are working with large and small poultry producers to develop detection and prevention strategies for an avian flu infection, recognizing the major economic impact the disease could have on California’s poultry industry.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers are working to develop and deploy a multiplex diagnostic for a wide range of respiratory problems, including different types of influenza; working to identify potential new signatures for multiple types of influenza viruses; and developing rapid methods for the analysis of viral genomes, including the possible mutation of avian influenza.

A team led by UC Irvine evolutionary biologist Robin Bush will receive $1.5 million over the next 5 years to develop computer-based simulations of pandemic flu and other infectious disease outbreaks. The research could help officials better understand how to prepare for and contain the spread of such diseases.

At UC Davis Medical Center, physicians are providing medical education and training for health practitioners to plan, recognize and test for cases of avian influenza in people, and putting in place procedures to deal with a possible outbreak of avian influenza.

UC San Diego Extension administers the California Office of Binational Border Health, which is working with the California Department of Health Services to address preparedness for a pandemic influenza in the California-Baja California border region.

UC faculty are working to help inform state decision-makers. When the state Assembly called a hearing recently on California’s preparation for avian flu, UCLA associate professor Scott Layne provided expert testimony on the origins and potential threats of the disease.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego is part of an international research effort that is using a computational data grid to study the mechanism of viral resistance to the human immune defense, provide an international data repository for different strains of avian flu, and identify new leads for drug development and screening.
— UC Editors.