Bird flu scientist says annual mutations likely

A leading WHO scientist concludes that the H5N1 strain of bird flu shows all the earmarks of being able to repeatedly mutate as it develops resistance against any antiviral drugs that are deployed against it. Mike Perdue says the only two anti-viral drugs currently believed to be at least somewhat effective against the virulent bird flu--Tamiflu and Amantadine drugs--already appear to be losing their effectiveness. And Perdue says that vaccines that work one year may well be useless the next.

- read the report on WHO's conclusions from The Philadelphia Inquirer

PLUS: University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers say they have discovered a peptide that prevents the influenza virus from attaching to cells, a move that would essentially prevent the replication of the virus as it infects its host. The peptide was tested on animals and cells in culture, stopping influenza of all stripes, including bird flu. Report

ALSO: The FDA has produced new guidelines to speed the development of cell-based vaccines. The agency wants to eventually end the use of eggs in vaccine production, saying that a cell-based approach is safer and far faster. Report

AND: Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed a "competing virus" that slows the spread of influenza, making it easier to stop. They're working on developing a nasal spray to administer the therapy, which may also work against pandemic strains. Report