Okanagan Clinical Trials, a research clinic based in Kelowna, B.C., is studying the safety and efficacy of an investigational vaccine for seasonal influenza.
The study is sponsored by Moderna and has been proven against this year’s flu.
“The technology is quite cool because we know that the influenza virus changes each year,” said nurse practitioner and sub-investigator, Linda Yearwood.
“This technology can meet this shift even quicker than our older vaccines, the older way of making vaccines.”
The vaccine included in the flu study is being tested in comparison to the current vaccine that is being given out in the community, to see which is more effective.
“This vaccine has been proven so through previous studies it has been shown to be effective with influenza ‘A’ strains and ‘B’ strains, just like the one most people are getting now it’s very similar,” said Yearwood.
“It’s just Moderna feels like it’s going to be a little bit more effective and now are trying to prove it, that it’s more effective, especially with influenza ‘A’ strains.”
This vaccine is currently aimed at those 65 years of age and older who are relatively healthy.
“They have to meet any inclusion, or exclusion criteria prior to participating, as of course, we don’t want to exacerbate anybody’s current health conditions or impact their health in any negative way,” said Magdelena Frison, flu vaccine study lead coordinator.
The clinic will conduct safety follow-ups with each patient following their vaccine dose to keep track of any symptoms that could be influenza.
“If they do get sick in the study they come back to our site where we will do a PCR test to see which virus they are dealing with if they are, in fact, sick with the virus,” said Frison.
Globally, the study is looking for 23,000 volunteers and the Kelowna branch is already filling up quickly with enrollment expected to close within the next couple of weeks.
More information on how to apply can be found on the clinic’s website.