WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- A branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health has launched fast-track recruitment for an investigation of the safety of a vaccine against H5N1 bird flu.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will conduct its investigation in Rochester, N.Y., Baltimore and Los Angeles where a total of 450 healthy adults are being sought as participants.
"While there have been relatively few cases worldwide of H5N1 avian influenza infection in humans, the public health community is concerned that the virus will develop the capability of efficiently spreading from human to human and thus create a risk for a worldwide pandemic," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci.
"NIAID has supported research on H5N1, the strain responsible for this deadly form of avian influenza, since 1997 when the first cases in humans were reported. The initiation of this vaccine trial marks a key advance in our efforts to prepare to respond to an avian flu pandemic."