Researchers study bird flu vaccine options

Forty-eight participants will participate in an study that will explore the best method to administer vaccines for bird flu, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center announced on Monday.

Researchers will test two methods to administer nasal and booster vaccines in an effort to determine which vaccine is more effectively prepares the immune system to defend against H7N9. The new strain of bird flu was identified in China earlier this year.

"In a pandemic, time is of the essence," URMC Researcher Dr. John Treanor said. "While no cases H7N9 have yet been identified in the U.S., the CDC is following the situation closely and taking precautionary action, developing and testing a candidate vaccine in case it was ever needed."

Study participants will be broken into two groups. The first group will receive a nasal vaccine consisting of the live, weakened virus followed by 12 days of isolation. Subjects will then receive a booster shot of live, inactive H7N9 28 days later.

The second group of participants will follow the same schedule; however, an additional nasal vaccine will be administered, which will require an addition 12 days of isolation. Subject will receive a booster of live, inactive H7N9 28 days after the last nasal vaccine.

Researchers will monitor which of the two vaccines leads to the production of more H7N9 antibodies among test subjects. The results of the study could guide CDC officials as they consider clinical recommendations.