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Hawaii Biotech, Inc. Launches Vaccine Program To Protect Native Hawaiian Birds From West Nile; Likely West Nile Virus Spread Could Devastate Native Bird Population


10/19/2005 5:09:41 PM

HONOLULU--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 2, 2005--Hawaii Biotech, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced today it has launched a vaccine program designed to protect Native Hawaiian bird species from the lethal West Nile virus. Over 300 bird species have been affected by West Nile virus since the mosquito-borne disease hit the U.S. in 1999. As some avian species are known to migrate from North America to Hawaii, a West Nile virus outbreak among endangered Hawaiian bird species is likely. Additionally, the virus could potentially be spread by infected mosquitoes or people traveling to the Hawaiian Islands. The spread of West Nile virus to Hawaii could decimate the Native Hawaiian bird population. Anticipated collaborators include University of Hawaii, the National Wildlife Center, and the National Park Service. The program will first test the Hawaii Biotech vaccine's ability to protect U.S. mainland geese from infection by West Nile virus. If successful in these and other tests, the vaccine could be used to protect native Hawaiian birds, including the endangered state bird, the Hawaiian Nene goose.

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