Purdue prof gets $1.6M grant to aid bird flu vaccine work

FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2015 file photo, a flock of young turkeys stand in a barn at the Moline family turkey farm after the Mason, Iowa farm was restocked. Harrisvaccines, an Iowa Company, announced Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 that is has been awarded the first license by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a bird flu vaccine. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A Purdue University scientist who’s working on a vaccine that would protect humans against numerous bird flu viruses has won $1.6 million to boost his effort.

The National Institutes of Health’s funding will allow comparative pathobiology professor Suresh Mittal to continue working on that vaccine.

He and two collaborators with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a vaccine in 2006 for the H5N1 bird flu virus. They’re now working to develop a broad-spectrum vaccine for emerging flu viruses that could spark the next human flu pandemic.

Mittal says those viruses initially afflict wild birds before expanding to poultry and eventually to humans. The vaccine his team is working on would offer broad protections against multiple viral strains and mutations.

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