Internal Medicine

UI Vaccine Unit to test vaccine for a potentially lethal strain of flu

WInokur H7N9 9-20-13

Vaccine research specialists with University of Iowa Health Care, in collaboration with colleagues across the country, are preparing for the potential pandemic spread of a new bird flu strain (H7N9) that caused severe disease in China last spring.

The UI team and researchers from the seven other National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units will test vaccines to protect against the illness in adults.

"The H7N9 strain has never circulated in human populations so our immune systems are not primed to respond to this virus," says Dr. Patricia Winokur, UI professor of internal medicine, director of the UI Vaccine Research and Education Project, and principal investigator of the vaccine study at the UI. "This means that if this virus can acquire the ability to spread from human to human, the world population would be very vulnerable and a pandemic with high mortality could ensue."

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