Eighty Healthy People Needed for H1N1 Flu Vaccine Studies

Nov. 25, 2009
Volunteers from ages 18 to 32 needed, as well as people older than 60
An influenza virus

Scientists are looking for 80 healthy people in the Rochester area to take part in studies of the same H1N1 vaccine that is currently being administered mainly to people at high risk and to health care workers.

The vaccinations will be free, and participants will be paid for their time and effort.

The new studies, which are being sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, are being conducted at the Vaccine Research Unit of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“These studies will not only provide new information about the vaccines, but also give us a better understanding of the immune response to the 2009 influenza virus,” said John Treanor, M.D., chief of the Infectious Diseases Division of the Department of Medicine, who heads the Vaccine Research Unit.

For one study, a total of 60 volunteers are needed – 40 people over the age of 60, and 20 people from ages 18 to 32. Volunteers will receive one injection of an H1N1 vaccine, then will have their blood drawn at each of three subsequent visits during the next month. Volunteers will be paid $160 or $200, depending on whether an initial screening visit is necessary.

For the other study, the vaccine unit will enroll 20 people ages 18 to 32. This study will involve a live but weakened form of the virus. Volunteers will receive the vaccine as a squirt up the nose twice in visits one month apart. After each administration of the vaccine, participants will return to the vaccine unit each day for seven days for swabs of their nose so scientists and nurses can monitor how long the virus stays active in the nose. Payment for this study, which includes 19 separate visits to the vaccine unit, is $560.

The new studies continue the University’s decades-long tradition of playing a critical role developing and testing new strategies to protect people from some of nature’s most virulent or common diseases, including flu, smallpox, pneumonia, shingles, whooping cough, malaria, anthrax, and even the common cold. It’s thanks to the participation of thousands of local residents over the years that studies of vaccines against such diseases have taken place in Rochester.

Treanor himself is internationally known for the pivotal role he plays in protecting the world from flu. He is leading studies that show the promise of a new type of flu vaccine that could save the nation crucial months in producing vast amounts of flu vaccine on short notice, such as when a pandemic like H1N1 occurs. A few years ago, in the face of a flu vaccine shortage, he led a study that resulted in an additional source of vaccine, helping to avert a shortage. Three years ago, he led a nationwide study demonstrating the efficacy of the world’s first vaccine against bird flu. 

Anyone interested in taking part in either of the new H1N1 studies should call the Vaccine Research Unit at (585) 273-3990.