Rochester, N.Y.- Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are looking for volunteers to help them better understand how flu vaccines work.
They need 38 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 42 for the studies, which pay $650 or $1,700, depending on the study.
Dr. John Treanor, an internationally known flu expert, is leading the studies.
He says the studies are an important part of preparation in case another pandemic flu virus occurs. The last one happened in summer 2009, when a strain of flu known as novel H1N1 sickened tens of thousands of people in a matter of weeks. Protecting against this once-novel H1N1 is now part of this year’s routine, seasonal flu shot.
The two new studies, paid for by the National Institutes of Health, will look at the effects on the immune system of two experimental vaccines designed to protect against other, still-novel forms of bird flu. Both vaccines will be given as a squirt up the nose.
The two vaccines under study are designed to protect against forms of bird flu that scientists think could possibly cause future pandemics. Participants in isolation will receive an experimental vaccine against two bird flu strains, either H2N3 or H9N2, while outpatients will receive the seasonal form of FluMist that many people will receive this year to protect themselves.
In a press release Thursday, Dr. Treanor said he wants as many options as possible in the event of a pandemic and that includes the possible use of live vaccines. “We need to do some work to understand how the body responds to these vaccines, so we can be prepared to move quickly if necessary,” said Treanor.
Researchers will use sophisticated technology to explore in new ways whether the vaccines would protect the recipients.
In these studies, all participants will receive a vaccine. One group of 14 people will be immunized with either FluMist® or a placebo at the University of Rochester Medical Center, then will be asked to return 12 times, to monitor their health and levels of certain blood proteins. The other group will include 24 people who will be immunized against H2N3 or H9N2, or who will receive a placebo, at the group’s isolation unit at Unity’s St. Mary’s campus, where they will stay for 12 days as they have their health monitored and their blood drawn.
For more information on the study, call (585) 273-3990. Volunteers must be in good health, not pregnant, and not allergic to eggs.