We generated a high-growth 7:1 reassortant (Len17/H5) that contained the hemagglutinin (HA) gene from non-pathogenic A/Duck/Potsdam/1402-6/86 (H5N2) virus and other genes from the cold-adapted (ca) attenuated A/Leningrad/134/17/57 (H2H2) strain. Len17/H5 demonstrated an attenuated phenotype in mice and did not infect chickens. Mice administered Len17/H5 either as a live-attenuated intranasal vaccine or as an inactivated intramuscular vaccine were substantially protected from lethal challenge with highly pathogenic A/Hong Kong/483/97 (H5N1) virus and were protected from pulmonary infection with antigenically distinct A/Hong Kong/213/2003 (H5N1) virus. The cross-protective effect correlated with the levels of virus-specific mucosal IgA and/or serum IgG antibodies. Our results suggest a new strategy of using classical genetic reassortment between a high-growth ca H2N2 strain and antigenically related non-pathogenic avian viruses to prepare live-attenuated and inactivated vaccines for influenza pandemic.