Researchers at two universities will test the effectiveness of a vaccine against the deadly H5N1 variety of bird flu virus by infecting vaccinated and unvaccinated monkeys.

The results are expected to be known within about six months, the researchers from Hokkaido University and Shiga University of Medical Science said.

The vaccine, developed by Hokkaido University, will be tested on crab-eating monkeys.

The researchers said the results could shed light on numerous aspects of the strain’s infection mechanism and pave the way for a human vaccine.

“The highly virulent H5N1 strain virus could kill mice and chickens when they were infected with it, but it remains unknown what exactly would happen for monkeys,” said Kazumasa Ogasawara, a professor at the Shiga school who is in charge of the project.

“Monkeys have immune system cells akin to those of humans, so (the research) should also be useful in devising measures against infection on humans,” Ogasawara said.

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