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CDC Working to Develop Vaccine Virus Against H7N9 Avian Flu

James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control(NEW YORK) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to develop and evaluate a vaccine virus against the H7N9 avian influenza, as the number of human infections and related deaths rises in China.

China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported 11 new H7N9 cases Sunday and two more deaths, bringing the total number of reported cases to 60 and the death toll to 13.

The CDC is completing work on a diagnostic test kit for use both domestically and internationally, according to Chief of Influenza Division Nancy Cox. The agency is also preparing to test the virus against common flu drugs and is working on making a candidate vaccine virus, which could be used to make a vaccine.

Additionally, the CDC is working on a blood test to be able to measure levels of existing immunity in the population, Cox said in an email to ABC News. This could help determine how many people have been asymptomatically infected.

The agency will also perform tests to determine how transmissible and pathogenic the virus is.

Of the 60 H7N9 cases reported in China, there were 24 in Shanghai, 16 in Jiangsu, 15 in Zhejiang, two in Anhui, two in Henan and one in Beijing, according to Xinhua.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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