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Executive Summary

LIVE VIRUS NASAL FLU VACCINE STUDY IN HIGH RISK ELDERLY PATIENTS is underway at the University of Rochester, university researchers reported at a March 30 press conference at the Natl. Institutes of Health. The vaccine is being tested in 45 elderly subjects in Rochester after earlier studies in healthy young volunteers indicated that the vaccine offers better protection against flu, with less spreading of flu viruses, than commercially licensed flu vaccines. Researchers from the Natl. Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and from the universities of Maryland (Baltimore) and Rochester (New York) said at the press conference that the live virus vaccine provided 100% protection against illness, while the commercial product, given intramuscularly, provided 72% protection. Wildtype virus was recovered from only 13% of live vaccine volunteers, compared with a recovery of the virus from 63% of those inoculated with the commercial vaccine. NIAID supported the vaccine studies under contract. The live nasal vaccine was produced by mating a less virulent A/Ann Arbor virus with a cloned A/Washington wild-type virus. The commercial vaccine contained A/Brazil, A/Bangkok, and B/Singapore viral strains. NIAID influenza vaccine development chief William Jordan stressed that it would be "at least five years" before the live nasal vaccine could be commercially available. He said that a drug company has expressed interest in the nasal vaccine, but he declined to name the firm. He suggested that a "wider distribution of the vaccine" may be in the area of flu prevention. "In the past, the emphasis has been on protecting the high risk groups, and particularly preventing mortality," Jordan said. "I have a feeling that the (federal) Immunization Practices Advisory Cmtes. are now moving towards emphasizing the prevention of illness, as well as the prevention of mortality." If children "can be vaccinated and the dissemination of viruses reduced, they will not infect their parents and grandparents," he said. "And that would be a plus, that would be a market for us relative to the use of this vaccine."

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