Warwick, RI (PressExposure) July 28, 2009 -- The race is on to find the most effective H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccine in time for inoculations this fall. As part of this effort, Omega Medical Research in Warwick, Rhode Island has announced that it will be conducting several investigational HIN1 Flu vaccine studies starting in August to assist in the development of a safe and effective vaccine.
On June 11, 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing spread of the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus commonly known as Swine Flu. WHO stated, "The 2009 influenza pandemic has spread internationally with unprecedented speed. In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks."
David L. Fried, MD, the medical director for Omega Medical Research, and the Principal Investigator on investigational HIN1 Flu vaccine studies to be conducted at the center, stressed the urgency of this undertaking, "At this time, the best preventative measure to avoid H1N1 is to receive vaccination and immunization. Omega Medical Research is conducting one of the few studies in the country that provides the initial vaccine to volunteers who participate in this important study."
Recent comments from Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicate that the virus is not going away and that the 2009 H1N1 virus patterns are quite different from seasonal influenza, "This virus is continuing to cause illness here in the U.S. even in the summer and continues to affect a generally younger population than what we see in terms of the seasonal influenza."
Schuchat continued, "We do expect there to be an increase in influenza that occurs this fall, perhaps earlier than what we see with seasonal influenza. In particular, we think there may be challenges when people return to schools and our communities get back into the sort of the regular times with lots of kids congregated together."
This spring several Rhode Island schools closed temporarily due to H1N1 (Swine) flu concerns including the Greystone Elementary School in North Providence, North Kingstown High School, and the Pier Middle School in Narragansett. In Southeastern Massachusetts the Assawompsett Elementary School in Lakeville and the Mary Fonseca Elementary School in Fall River both closed temporarily this spring due to H1N1 (Swine) flu outbreaks. To date, 2 H1N1 (Swine) flu deaths have been confirmed in Rhode Island and 6 deaths in Massachusetts.
Residents of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts who would like to participate in Omega Medical Research's investigational HIN1 Flu vaccine studies should contact Patty Feole, RN at 401-739-3573 as soon as possible. Volunteers are needed in four age groups: 6 to 35 months; 2 years to 17 years; 18 years to 64 years; and 65 years and older. Study participants will receive compensation for their time and travel to Omega Medical Research, which is conveniently located near Routes 295 and 95 in Warwick, Rhode Island.