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SLU begins avian flu vaccine studies

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Influenza is primarily spread by children, and so St. Louis University wants to test the vaccine's effect on kids aged two through nine.

Participants will give blood samples that will be tested for antibody response.

Dr. Robert Belshe with the SLU Center for Vaccine Development says preliminary studies of the vaccine among adults have yielded a very good safety level.

"The only adverse events were some mild local pain like you see with any injection and some mild local redness," Belshe said. "And then the antibody responses suggested that two doses of vaccine would in fact induce antibodies that neutralize or kill the avian influenza virus.

The clinical trials will last about two months.

Several other U.S. sites are also testing the vaccine among the elderly.