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News Scan for Jul 12, 2022

Nevada reports its first avian flu outbreak in poultry

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently announced Nevada's first highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak in poultry, which struck a backyard flock in Carson City housing 40 birds.

Outbreaks involving the H5N1 strain have now been reported in 37 states and have led to the loss of more than 40 million birds.

In related developments, APHIS also reported 170 more H5N1 detections in wild birds, raising the total to 1,805, as the virus continues to circulate over the summer months. Most of the new detections were in the Northwest, especially Alaska, as well as in the Midwest, the Northeast, and Florida. Waterfowl and raptors are still among the hard-hit groups, but several detections involve nonmigratory shore birds, including gulls and terns.

The UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in a recent outbreak assessment noted an unprecedented shift of the virus from migratory birds to native sedentary wild bird species, including seabirds, which it said poses an ongoing risk to poultry populations.
Jul 8 USDA APHIS statement
USDA APHIS poultry outbreak page
USDA APHIS wild bird outbreak page
Jun 20 DEFRA avian flu risk assessment


Moderna begins clinical trial of mRNA Nipah vaccine

Moderna today announced that first participants have been immunized in a phase 1 clinical trial of its candidate mRNA vaccine against Nipah virus.

In a statement, the company said the vaccine was developed with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.

Stephane Bancel, Moderna's chief executive officer, said the NIH collaboration is part of a plan to advance 15 vaccine programs by 2025 that target emerging or neglected infectious diseases. "Since Nipah virus is a deadly pathogen for which there is currently no vaccine or treatment, Moderna is eager to bring our mRNA expertise to this partnership with the hope of halting the virus' pandemic potential to protect the health of our global citizens," he said.

Nipah virus can spread from animals through consumption of contaminated food or directly from infected people. Acute respiratory symptoms can occur alongside encephalitis that may produce coma or death. It is considered a pandemic threat with bioterrorism potential. It is designated as a high-priority pathogen by the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

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