Intended for healthcare professionals


H5N1: Governments should invest in vaccines for all flu strains, says incoming WHO chief scientist

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 22 February 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p434
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Governments around the world should be investing in a H5N1 vaccine and running phase 1 and 2 trials to prepare for a potential outbreak among humans, outgoing Wellcome director Jeremy Farrar has said.

Farrar—who is leaving Wellcome after a decade to become the World Health Organization’s chief scientist later this year—said that in terms of potential pandemic events, H5N1 is a “big worry.”

Speaking at a Wellcome media briefing in which he shared his views on the barriers that science must overcome, Farrar warned that the current situation, whereby H5N1 influenza viruses are being allowed to spread among poultry, wild birds, and mammals, is the perfect way to “create something nasty.”

“If there was an outbreak …

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