Mass. doctor on why Boston-based Moderna is developing a bird flu vaccine
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Mass. doctor on why Boston-based Moderna is developing a bird flu vaccine

Mass. doctor on why Boston-based Moderna is developing a bird flu vaccine

30 YEARS AGO, A BOSTON COMPANY WILL GET $170 MILLION TO DEVELOP TO DEVELOP A BIRD FLU VACCINE. MODERNA SAYS IT WILL USE THE SAME MRNA TECHNOLOGY USED TO PRODUCE SHOTS FOR COVID 19. HERE TO TALK ABOUT THIS, DOCTOR SHIRA DORON, THE CHIEF INFECTION CONTROL OFFICER FOR TUFTS MEDICINE HEALTH SYSTEM, WHICH IS WHY YOU’RE THE PERSON TO ASK THIS OF HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE TRYING TO CONTAIN THIS OUTBREAK. DOCTOR, A BIRD FLU THAT’S ALREADY INFECTED AT LEAST 130 HERDS OF DAIRY COWS IN 12 STATES. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE NUMBER OF HUMAN CASES YOU KNOW, WE THINK THAT DAIRY COW INFECTIONS MAY HAVE BEEN GOING ON LONGER THAN WE REALIZED AS FAR BACK AS DECEMBER OR JANUARY, AND YET, THANKFULLY, THERE HAVE BEEN ONLY THREE REPORTED HUMAN INFECTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE VIRUS. ALL THREE HAD MILD INFECTION. ALL OF THEM HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH COWS, AND NONE TRANSMITTED IT TO OTHER HUMANS, INCLUDING THE PEOPLE IN THEIR HOUSEHOLD. NOW WE’RE PROBABLY MISSING SOME OTHER MILD HUMAN CASES, BUT STILL, THOSE STATISTICS ARE PRETTY REASSURING. THEY ARE SO IT SOUNDS LIKE THE INFECTION RISK AMONG PEOPLE IS LOW. WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT SPENDING MILLIONS NOW TO DEVELOP THIS VACCINE? YOU KNOW, COVID TAUGHT THE WORLD THAT VIRUSES, GENETIC CODE MUTATES AND FLU IS A NOTORIOUS MUTATOR. THE RISK TO PEOPLE WHO DO NOT WORK WITH CATTLE AND POULTRY IS LOW TODAY, BUT MUTATIONS IN THE VIRUS’S GENETIC CODE COULD MAKE IT BETTER SUITED TO INFECT PEOPLE TO SPREAD BETWEEN PEOPLE, OR COULD EVEN MAKE IT MORE LETHAL TO PEOPLE. AND THOSE CHANGES WOULD GIVE IT PANDEMIC POTENTIAL THAT IT DOES NOT HAVE TODAY. AND FOR ALL THOSE REASONS, WE NEED TO BE PREPARED WITH VACCINES AND TREATMENTS. SO ARE YOU TRYING TO GET AHEAD OF IT? YEAH. SO WHILE THIS OUTBREAK CONTINUES, SHOULD PEOPLE AVOID CONTACT WITH FARMS AND BIRD FEEDERS JUST TO BE SAFE? WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE? THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AROUND THIS IS ONE STAY AWAY FROM RAW, UNPASTEURIZED MILK. PASTEURIZATION DOES MAKE THE MILK FROM INFECTED COWS SAFE. AVOID HANDLING SICK OR DEAD ANIMALS IN THE WILD. IF YOU HAVE TO WEAR GLOVES, WASH YOUR HANDS VERY WELL. AFTERWARD. PEOPLE WITH BACKYARD BIRD FEEDERS OR CHICKENS SHOULD PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO HANDWASHING AS WELL. FARM WORKERS SHOULD USE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WHEN THEY’RE HANDLING OR DEALING WITH ANY ANIMALS KNOWN TO BE PART OF THIS OUTBREAK, LIKE COWS, CHICKENS AND ALPACA. GREAT ADVICE, DOCTOR DORON, AL

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Mass. doctor on why Boston-based Moderna is developing a bird flu vaccine

Dr. Shira Doron, the Chief Infection Control Officer for Tufts Medicine health system, explains why the government would want to invest millions in development of a bird flu vaccine for humans.

Dr. Shira Doron, the Chief Infection Control Officer for Tufts Medicine health system, explains why the government would want to invest millions in development of a bird flu vaccine for humans.

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