$3.5 million needed for bird flu vaccine

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MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - About $3.5 million is needed to produce a sufficient volume of vaccines against bird flu, a prominent Russian specialist said.

Vladimir Fisinin, vice president of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the money is needed to produce 40 million essential doses and 20 million reserve doses of the vaccine.

The H5N1 viral strain, which causes bird flu, takes 20 years to change its genetic structure.

"All registered cases of the infection have been either in private homesteads or among wild aquatic birds... instances of bird flu infection in industrial companies have not yet been reported," he said.

Anatoly Smirnov, head of the Russian Veterinary Sanitation, Hygiene and Ecology Research Institutes, said that "so far, losses to the private sector caused by bird flu total 110 million rubles [$4 million], and 120 birds have died or been killed."

The virus survives in frozen birds for 18 months, but denatures at high temperatures, he said.

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