ST.PETERSBURG, April 11 (RIA Novosti, Olga Vtorova) - Russian scientists from St.Petersburg will soon start developing the country's first orally administered vaccine against the lethal H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, the head of a veterinary institute said Tuesday.
"The important difference with the orally administered vaccine is the possibility of immunizing birds by mixing the drug with fodder and drinking water," Eduard Dzhavadov said.
Dzhavadov said this would enable a reduction in the expenses and time necessary to vaccinate birds, as it takes 30 seconds to make an intramuscular vaccine injection to one bird. "If the orally administered vaccine is used, thousands of birds could be vaccinated simultaneously," the scientist said.
He said two St. Petersburg institutes would work on developing the drug. The first vaccine is likely to appear in a year.
Human cases of bird flu have been registered in 51 countries across the world since the H5N1 strain appeared in Southeast Asia in 2003. Of 190 people diagnosed with the virus, 107 have died.
Russia was hit by its first H5N1 outbreak last summer. Hundreds of thousands of poultry in the country's eastern and southern provinces have been killed by the virus since then, but humans have remained unaffected.