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Cell mediated immunity to meet the avian influenza A (H5N1) challenge

Avian influenza A subtype H5N1 virus with its recombination potential with the human influenza viruses presents a threat of producing a pandemic. The consensus is that the occurrence of such a pandemic is only a matter of time.

This is of great concern, since no effective vaccine is available or can be made before the occurrence of the event. We present arguments for the use of cell mediated immunity for the prevention of the infection as well as for the treatment of infected patients.

Transfer factor (TF), an immunomodulator of low molecular weight capable of transferring antigen-specific cell mediated immune information to T-lymphocytes, has been used successfully over the past quarter of a century for treating viral, parasitic, and fungal infections, as well as immunodeficiencies, neoplasias, allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Moreover, several observations suggest that it can be utilised for prevention, transferring immunity prior to infection. Because it is derived from lymphocytes of immune donors, it has the potential to answer the challenge of unknown or ill-defined pathogens.

Indeed, it is possible to obtain an antigen-specific TF preparation to a new pathogen before its identification. Thus, a specific TF to a new influenza virus can be made swiftly and used for prevention as well as for the treatment of infected patients.

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