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Lower-Dose Bird Flu Vaccine Study Begins

Four U.S. centers will test the new formulation

TUESDAY, April 11, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- American researchers have launched a seven-month study to test lower doses of a vaccine as protection against the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

The trial -- which began recruiting in late March -- is being conducted at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C., and three other U.S. locations: the University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Rochester, in New York; and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

The goal of the multi-center trial is to test whether a modified form of an investigational bird flu vaccine, given in lower doses, is able to trigger a strong immune response. Initial trials showed that it required high doses and at least two injections of the vaccine to prompt a potent response.

The vaccine uses an inactivated flu virus based on a strain taken from a Vietnamese patient in 2004. There is no live virus in the vaccine and no risk that study volunteers will contract bird flu or spread it to others.

"We hope that by adding a compound called an adjuvant to the vaccine, we can create a stronger immune response to smaller doses of the vaccine," Duke study leader Dr. Emmanuel Walter, associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute's Primary Care Research Consortium, said in a prepared statement.

The adjuvant being using in this study is aluminum hydroxide, commonly used in vaccines for children and adults.

The study is sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about bird flu.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, March 28, 2006
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