April 3 (UPI) -- The first clinical trial has begun on a dynamic universal flu vaccine candidate to analyze it's safety and effectiveness on human volunteers.
The H1ssF_3928 vaccine candidate is supposed to direct the immune system's attention to parts of a virus that vary from strain to strain, according to the a National Institutes of Health. Ideally, the vaccine candidate will protect people in multiple age groups of various flu subtypes, even ones that might cause a pandemic.
The age groups of the participants will break down into four groups: 18 to 40 years, 41 to 49 years, 50 to 59 years and 60 to 70 years. This is to observe the vaccine's reaction in people with different types of immune systems based on age.
"Seasonal influenza is a perpetual public health challenge, and we continually face the possibility of an influenza pandemic resulting from the emergence and spread of novel influenza viruses," NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, program director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a news release. "This Phase 1 clinical trial is a step forward in our efforts to develop a durable and broadly protective universal influenza vaccine."
After receiving injections for the study, participants will record their temperature and all of their symptoms on a diary card. They will also have their blood tested by investigators at a clinic at various points to measure the level of anti-flu antibiotics to see whether it's effective.
In all, the participants will make between nine to 11 follow-up visits during a 12 to 15 month period. However, none of the participants will be exposed to any flu virus as a part of the trial.
To create the vaccine candidate, the researchers used the stem of an H1N1 flu virus, which has led to many hospitalizations this flu season.
"This Phase 1 clinical trial is the culmination of years of research and development made possible by the unique collaborative setting that the VRC offers by bringing together top scientists, manufacturing expertise, and an outstanding clinical team," said VRC Director John Mascola.