Human trials begin for swine flu vaccine

August 10, 2009 2:54:02 PM PDT
Across the country Monday, hundreds of volunteers are lining up to get a dose of the H1N1, swine flu trial vaccine. Some drug makers are now testing the vaccine in humans. President Barack Obama flew into Guadalajara, Mexico Sunday for the so called "Three Amigos Summit" with the Mexican president and Canadian prime minister. The main topic of discussion is how to best combat the anticipated outbreak of swine flu this fall.

"What will this trial tell us?" World Health Organization vaccine director Marie-Paule Kieny said. "Well they will tell us whether we need one or two dose per person for a vaccination?"

In the eight U.S. test cities, volunteers will receive a series of shots, some stronger than others.

Volunteers like Paul Ritterhoff will be closely monitored over the next several weeks.

"The opportunity to contribute to something to something that is really on the cutting edge of science, that has significance to lots of people around the world, is something that makes the risk worth it," Ritterhoff said.

While doctors say the trials are safe, potential side effects include fever, allergic reactions and a remote chance of paralysis and even death.

Early safety results should be available in September.

"The clock is ticking, and when children go back to school, children are going to be very susceptible to this virus," said Dr. Karen Kotloff, of the University of Maryland.

Last week, U.S. officials encouraged schools across the country to try and remain open even if a few students are inflected with swine flu, so that learning can continue throughout the school year.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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