NIH Launches H1N1 flu vaccine trial in HIV-infected pregnant women

The first clinical trials to test whether the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine can safely elicit a protective immune response in HIV-infected pregnant women launched Oct. 8, and a trial to conduct the same test in HIV-infected children and youth was scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 12.

The International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group is conducting the studies, which are sponsored and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, both part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Children, young people and pregnant women are at higher risk for more severe illness from the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus than other groups, and HIV-infected individuals in these populations may be particularly vulnerable,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

“Because of the increased vulnerability of these populations, these trials are testing whether doses of licensed 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine that are higher than doses being tested in other groups can safely elicit protective immune responses in HIV-infected children, youth and pregnant women,” added Lynne Mofenson, M.D., chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch in NICHD.

One trial will enroll 130 HIV-infected pregnant women ages 18 to 39 years who are in their second or third trimester (14 to 34 weeks) of pregnancy. The other trial will enroll 140 children and youth aged 4 to 24 years who were infected with HIV at birth.

Thirty-five sites and eight sub-sites across the United States and Puerto Rico are eligible to conduct the trials.

The vaccine, manufactured by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, contains inactivated 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, so it is impossible to become infected with the virus by receiving the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain adjuvant, a substance added to some vaccines to improve the body’s response to vaccine.

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