Vanderbilt Researchers Working On Vaccines
by Chris Conte
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As the height of flu season starts to wind down researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are continually working on vaccines that might help during next year's flu season.
Nineteen people have now died from flu complications in Middle Tennessee - a figure that surpasses the number of area residents that died during the outbreak a few years ago.
"We've been adding these things called adjuvants which enhance the immune response," said Dr. Kathryn Edwards, who oversees vaccines research for the teaching hospital.
Other research facilities have been working on what's called a challenge method. Giving a person the H1N1 vaccine, then giving them H1N1 to see if they get sick.
"Could there be perhaps a vaccine that wouldn't have to change every single year, that maybe you could make a part of the vaccine which is common between several different flu strains so you wouldn't have to give a new one every year," she added about some of the research her team is doing right now.
Every day, Dr. Edwards and her team has dozens of patient participants coming into their facility to help advance research on everything from pneumonia vaccines to small pox.
"They problem with the flu is you never know which strain is going to emerge."
Dr. Edward said every piece of new information they learn about the flu is useful.