Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have begun join testing of a new vaccine to protect against the H7N9 bird flu that sickened more than 135 people in China this past spring, killing 44 of them. Although the median age for those infected was 58-years old, 4 were children.
The Emory/Children’s Healthcare clinical trial, however will involve approximately 700 healthy adults between the ages of 19-64 nationally, with subjects receiving two vaccinations at 21 days apart of varying dosages of the "investigational" vaccine given with an adjuvant (a substance added to a vaccine to increase the body’s immune response).
"By preparing for a potential outbreak through a tested vaccine, we hope to reduce the potentially severe impact of a future pandemic, stated” Dr. Mark Mulligan, professor of medicine in Emory University School of Medicine and executive director of the Hope Clinic.“We also expect to learn more about flu vaccines, how they induce immunity, and the most effective doses in different age groups.”
According to the World Health Organization, symptoms of the H7N9 bird flu include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which may develop into severe pneumonia. In addition, it was reported that the virus may “also overload the immune system, causing Blood poisoning and organ failure.”
Note: The Emory clinical trial is being sponsored by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health through the Emory Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU), and will take place at both the Emory Vaccine Center’s Hope Clinic in nearby Decatur, and at the Emory Children’s Center Vaccine Research Clinic.