On Tuesday January 30, pharmaceuticals manufacturer CSL announced it will register the nation's first bird flu vaccine with the Australian medicine regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), next month.
The development follows successful trials on 18- to 65-year-olds showing the vaccine is safe, effective and well tolerated.
CSL spokesperson Rachel David said they are confident in manufacturing an effective bird flu vaccine.
"We know it will be effective in adults aged up to 65 and we know they'll need two doses of 30 micrograms of antigen.
"With the current strain we're looking at, the Indonesian strain, we should be able to vaccinate the Australian population within six months," she said.
CSL's chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Cuthbertson said there is still room to improve the vaccine in maximising its potency and creating a broad spectrum protection against a large variety of bird flu strains.
"The ultimate goal of our research programme is to develop a pandemic vaccine which uses the lowest dose of antigen, which can offer cross-protection against similar but non-identical bird flu strains and which lasts as long as possible," Dr Cuthbertson said.
Canberra has contributed $7.17 million towards the company's vaccine development programme, with two other companies, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis, also developing pandemic flu vaccines.
At least 132 people have died worldwide since the virus re-emerged in Asia in 2003, but experts fear the deadly H5N1 strain could mutate into a human flu strain, potentially killing millions of people.