September 14, 2007 / 10:58 AM / 10 years ago

Dutch drug firm Crucell develops bird flu antibody

AMSTERDAM, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Dutch biotechnology firm Crucell CRCL.ASCRXL.O said on Friday that it has discovered and developed a monoclonal antibody against the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. "Using phage display technology a set of human monoclonal antibodies active against a broad range of distinct H5N1 strains was developed," chief scientific officer Jaap Goudsmit said in a statement.

The H5N1 virus remains mainly a virus of birds but experts fear it could change into a form easily transmitted from person to person and sweep the world, killing millions.

So far, most human cases can be traced to direct or indirect contact with infected birds. Globally, the H5N1 virus has killed 195 people out of 322 known cases and hundreds of millions of birds have died or been slaughtered.

Crucell will present pre-clinical studies of the antibody at the International Bird Flu Summit in Las Vegas on Sept. 27-28.

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