Houston Tests Swine Flu Vaccine

Houston is selected as one of eight cities to test out a vaccine for the so-called swine flu. The H1N1 clinical trials will be conducted at Baylor College of Medicine. The goal is to get a useable vaccine into the hands of doctors by the time flu season is in full swing. Laurie Johnson reports.

The World Health Organization declared the H1N1 flu virus a pandemic back in June. The virus continues to spread both here and in other parts of the world.

Dr. Wendy Keitel is the principal investigator for Baylor College of Medicine's Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit. She says they'll be testing vaccines that have already been developed.

"The initial clinical trials will explore how well tolerated and safe these vaccines are. And will look at various amounts of vaccine being given to see how high the amount needs to be and how many doses one needs to receive."

The clinical trials, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will start in adults and then move on to children.

The complete trials will take several months, but Keitel says they hope to have enough evidence collected soon to move forward with a licensed vaccine.

"We are optimistic that we will be able to stimulate good immune responses and that these vaccines will be safe. And because of that, I am optimistic that one or more of these vaccine candidates will be able to be licensed and available later this fall."

The trials will start in a few weeks. At that time, Baylor researchers will recruit participants from the Houston area to test the vaccines.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
 

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...