Hala Ibrahim Awadalla1* and Nagwa Fouad El-Kholy2
Influenza viruses infect a wide range of animal hosts and cause yearly wintertime epidemics among people living in temperate zones. Due to their ability to mutate, re-assort gene segments, and cross species, influenza viruses can also lead to pandemics in which immunologically naive people are exposed to a new, highly contagious subtype. In the last century, these pandemics were caused by influenza viruses whose surface attachment proteins, or hemagglutinins, were derived from birds, the natural reservoir of influenza virus. Vaccines are the primary means to provide protection for people at risk for inter-pandemic influenza, and new vaccines, directed against avian-potentially pandemic-strains are now being tested. The aim of this study was to examine available information on influenza pandemic in order to create awareness of preventive measures against influenza pandemic and to suggest future research areas in developing control strategies.
Key words: Influenza, pandemic, H5N1, vaccine, antiviral agents.