TOKYO, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Agawa-gun, Kochi Prefecture-based Sophy Inc. held a press conference today in Tokyo to announce the results of a joint research project on the prevention of infection with avian flu and other viruses by teams in Vietnam and Sri Lanka in cooperation with the Kochi Medical School at Kochi University.
The H5N1 avian flu virus has been carried by migratory birds to all parts of the world except the Americas and Oceania. Over the past three years it has spread from poultry to humans, infecting 256 people in 10 countries and causing 152 deaths -- a mortality rate of 59%. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the virus could eventually evolve to where it can spread from human to human and cause a pandemic. Countries around the globe are working to develop contingency plans and to supply vaccinations. Further, in developing countries many households depend on poultry for their livelihoods, so preventing viral infection is an economic issue.
At the conference, Director Thanh Hoa Le of the Immunology Department, Institute of Biotechnology, Hanoi, Vietnam, presented a report titled "Sophy Beta-Glucan's Adjuvant Effect on the Avian Flu Vaccine." His team found that when Sophy Beta-Glucan(1) was added to the drinking water of chickens and mice that were vaccinated for H5N1, the subjects showed nearly twice the post-vaccination immune response of those in control groups.
Professor Rajapakse Jayanthe, a veterinarian at Sri Lanka's University of Peradeniya, delivered a presentation titled "Sophy Beta-Glucan's Improved Immunity and Lower Mortality Rates for Poultry." He reported that broiler chicks raised on water supplemented with Sophy Beta-Glucan and vaccinated for the Gambaro(2) virus showed higher antibody counts than those in control groups. His group also found that the 42-day mortality rate for the Sophy Beta-Glucan chicks was 0.7%, far lower than the 3.1% for the control groups, and that their mean weight was 1.96kg to the 1.77kg of the control groups.
Professor Jayanthe commented: "Most farmers use antibiotics supplementation ... but it may result in the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics while residues of antibiotics may be hazardous to human health. However 1% Sophy Beta-Glucan showed an increased immunity and protection of the birds against common pathogens."
(1) Beta-Glucan is a glucan produced by the Aspergillus niger fungus when
it reproduces. The first Beta-Glucan to be approved as a natural food
additive by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare was
Aureobasidium culture solution in 1996.
(2) Gambaro (Infectious Bursal Disease) is an acute infectious disease
that destroys chickens' immunity and opens the way for numerous other
opportunistic infections. Outbreaks of Gambaro, known colloquially as
"chicken AIDS," have caused huge economic losses for the egg-producing
and poultry industries in Southeast Asia.
CONTACT: Norihito Atari, Press Relations, +81-3-5565-8966, Fax:+81-3-3546-2017, firstname.lastname@example.org