20 Mar 2009

Thousands needed for flu vaccine trial

7:44 pm on 20 March 2009

Researchers are preparing to carry out one of the largest clinical trials of a flu vaccine in the South Pacific.

About 7,500 men and women are required from Australia and New Zealand to test the effectiveness of a new vaccine designed to protect against influenza.

Three New Zealand clinics are participating in gathering information for a drug company, which has commissioned the research on an anonymous basis.

Professor Jim Reid of RMC Medical Research in Dunedin, which is one of the clinics involved, says investigators conducted a similarly-sized trial in 2008.

However, because it was a mild flu season, more subjects are needed this year.

Each year between 10% and 20% of New Zealanders are infected with influenza.