Kaiser Members Testing Flu Vaccine To Fight Pandemic
More than 600 Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California are participating in a clinical trial of a genetically engineered flu vaccine intended to respond quickly to a pandemic, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The vaccine, called FluBlok, could be deployed within one month of an officially declared pandemic, compared with five to six months for flu vaccines that are currently licensed.
On Friday, FDA issued a license number to Protein Sciences, the manufacturer of the vaccine. While the move does not ensure approval, it demonstrates an effort to accelerate authorization of the vaccine, according to Daniel Adams, CEO of Protein Sciences.
For the Kaiser trial, half of participants received a standard flu vaccine, while the other half received FluBlok. All participants in the Kaiser trial are at least 50 years old.
At the end of the flu season, Kaiser researchers will compare how many participants with the standard vaccine contracted the flu, compared with those who received FluBlok. The vaccine also is being tested among younger age groups at 26 other sites nationwide.
Roger Baxter -- head of Kaiser's Vaccine Study Center, which is overseeing the clinical trial - said he hopes the center's study will determine whether FluBlok better protects older populations than the standard flu vaccine (Bohan, Oakland Tribune, 1/28).