Study of new swine flu vaccines looks for children from the local area to take part

Paediatricians at Southampton General Hospital are looking for 250 children to take part in a study of the two swine flu vaccines due to be used in the UK this winter.
 
The study, being conducted by the University of Southampton Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust in collaboration with the University of Oxford, Health Protection Agency, University of Bristol, St George’s Medical School London and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, will enrol children aged six months to 12 years from the beginning of October.
 
By conducting this study, researchers hope to determine if one of the vaccines is better tolerated or more likely to protect against swine flu than the other in this age group.
 
The study is being led in Southampton by Dr Saul Faust, senior lecturer in child health at the University of Southampton and honorary consultant at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust. He emphasised its importance, saying: “Children are one of the age groups most vulnerable to swine flu infection, so it is vital that we obtain information on their response to these vaccines. This study will help in decisions about which vaccine will be best for protecting children.”
 
Millions of doses of two swine flu vaccines have been purchased for use in the UK by the Department of Health to control the expected outbreak this autumn, but information about their use in children is limited.
 
Although children are disproportionately affected by swine flu, only children in high risk groups and children who are household contacts of people in high risk groups will be offered the vaccine initially. If serious disease in healthy children increases, then routine vaccination for all healthy children will be considered.
 
The study is being funded by the NHS National Institute for Health Research and has been adopted by the Medicines for Children Research Network.
 
Children who take part in the study would receive two doses of a swine flu vaccine three weeks apart at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Southampton General Hospital. A blood test would be taken (using a local anaesthetic cream) before and after the immunisation course to check their response to the vaccines.
 
Parents interested in enrolling their child in this study should visit the www.swineflutrial.org website for further information.
Posted on Thursday 24 September 2009