In failing to note the emergence of cross-protective influenza vaccines, your article "Public enemy number one" (Features, December 1) does not recognise this most important emerging area of research. Such vaccines may be prepared in large quantities well ahead of any threatened pandemic and should not only be effective against an outbreak strain of virus but also protective against the normal year-on-year variation of this virus.
Such vaccines have been shown to be effective in test species. Money and effort should be expended at emergency levels to achieve the human cross-protective influenza vaccine.
As "vaccines are by far the most effective single preventive measure", it is about time we rolled up our sleeves and got to work to make the human vaccines that will protect us against the threatened influenza H5N1 pandemic.
Raymond E. Spier
Editor in chief, Vaccine