Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs) are testing vaccines in an effort to protect against avian flu. The team of infectious diseases researchers will help shape public health policy and create influenza immunization plans to protect Americans in the event of an H7N9 outbreak.

For the current round of research, which focuses on an H7N9 vaccine, investigators hope to recruit up to 1,000 adults nationally. Study participants will receive different dosages of an investigational vaccine given with and without one of two adjuvants, which are substances added to a vaccine to increase the body’s immune response.

“Whether or not the H7N9 influenza spreads to the United States in the future, our research will teach us a lot about how to protect ourselves from the next pandemic,” said Sharon Frey, MD, professor of infectious diseases at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and SLU VTEU principal investigator for one of the national research studies.