Swine flu vaccine trials set to begin

Sarah Gardner Jul 23, 2009
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Swine flu vaccine trials set to begin

Sarah Gardner Jul 23, 2009
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Kai Ryssdal: Now here’s an opportunity. Clinical trials of a new H1N1 swine-flu vaccine are starting next month. And the government is looking for volunteers. The National Institutes of Health has put the tests on a fast track in eight states trying to beat flu season this fall. Marketplace’s Sarah Gardner reports.


PHONE MESSAGE: If you are interested in an H1N1 study, we are not yet recruiting. Please speak slowly…

SARAH GARDNER: That’s the message volunteers were getting this morning when they called Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. Group Health was handling a “high volume” of calls, the message said. Volunteers will be paid but the amount wasn’t made public today.

Phones were also ringing off the hook at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The school’s Doctor Karen Kotloff says researchers want to find out as much as they can before flu season really kicks in this winter.

KAREN KOTLOFF: This virus is still circulating in the Northern Hemisphere, which is extremely rare for influenza. And not only that but in the Southern Hemisphere, where there is winter, there’s a huge number of cases.

These clinical trials will determine whether the vaccine is safe and whether people should receive one or two doses. One manufacturer has already started administering a swine-flu vaccine this week in a separate trial in Australia. Doctor Russell Basser at CSL Biotherapies says his company is confident in its safety.

RUSSELL BASSER: We think it will behave very similarly, it’s not exactly the same, as the normal influenza vaccine.

Children will eventually be included in the U.S. trials, but only if the early data show it’s safe.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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