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Trial ongoing for new avian flu strain

Flu Vaccine Cutout Photo: ZaldyImg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 via MGN Online

We may finally be out of the flu season -- but researchers already have their eyes on protecting you from a new strain that's out there in the future.

It's called H7N9. It's an avian flu -- where people get the flu from poultry -- now spreading in Asian countries. Nearly four out of ten people who get it from poultry --will die from it.

Now the National Institutes of Health has launched a high priority trial. So this team is now one of several sites across the country -testing a new vaccine to potentially stockpile and protect against it.

What's interesting here is that infectious disease researcher Dr. Paul Spearman said they are looking for patients who did NOT get the vaccine this year because it might interfere with the bird flu vaccine.

"Giving a vaccine first that has some relatedness to what you are giving a little bit later could interfere with that response to the second vaccine," Spearman said.

As part of the trial you are actually given both of them to make sure one doesn't cancel out the other.

There are trials are taking place at several Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation sites--including The University of Maryland School of Medicine and Duke Human Vaccine Institute.

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