Australian pharmaceutical company CSL Limited says it has successfully tested its bird flu vaccine on adults and was ready to supply the drug if a pandemic were to hit the country.
CSL said trials showed its bird flu antigen had safely produced a strong immune response in adults aged 18 to 65. Tests on infants and the elderly were expected to be completed later this year.
"CSL is delighted to reassure the community that the Australian government will be able to respond with CSL's vaccine in the event that an influenza pandemic affects Australia," CSL chief scientific officer Andrew Cuthbertson said.
Cuthbertson said CSL's aim was to "undertake research which will enable the maximum number of vaccine doses to be produced in the shortest possible time"
"The ultimate goal of our research program is to develop a pandemic vaccine which uses the lowest dose of antigen, which can offer cross-protection against similar but nonidentical bird flu strains, and which lasts as long as possible," he said.
There have been no cases in Australia of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza which has killed around 160 people across the world since late 2003.
Health officials have warned that if the virus were to mutate into a form easily transmissible by humans, it could cause a pandemic with the potential to kill millions of people.
If you must cripple a creature to keep it, perhaps you should reconsider its suitability as a pet.