Australia to begin first human test of swine flu vaccine

A scientist examines samples from suspected swine flu patients at a WHO laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.
The first human trials of a swine flu vaccine are expected to start in Australia Wednesday.

Melbourne-based company CSL Ltd. plans to test a vaccine for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, on 240 volunteers, a company representative said. The test will be conducted on healthy adults between the ages of 18-64. Participants will receive two shots three weeks apart and will undergo blood tests to determine if they are generating an appropriate immune response to the virus, the company said. “We appreciate that new influenza strains like the ‘swine flu’ can surprise us with properties that mean they might require higher dosing and two injections rather than one to provoke the desired level of immune response in humans,” said Dr Russell Basser, global director of clinical development. Swine flu has spread so rapidly and extensively around the globe that the World Health Organization said Monday that it was changing tactics against the virus, including stopping a tally of cases and focusing on unusual patterns. The World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic on June 11. More than 120 countries have reported cases of human infection. About 98,000 cases have been documented worldwide, with 440 deaths, according to the WHO.