Updated 11/14/2009 06:57 PM
Local Researchers Continue to Develop "Pandemic Vaccine"
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Behind the scenes of the H1N1 flu pandemic, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center continue their work to make seasonal influenza and future pandemics less deadly.
The head of U of R's Microbiology and Immunology Department says work is underway to develop a "pandemic vaccine". Dr. Stephen Dewhurst says it would protect against strains of the virus researchers know will arise, but aren't exactly sure what they'll look like.
Dewhurst says Americans have just gotten used to having vaccines available for contagious and historically devastating diseases like polio.
"H1N1 is one of those reminders that there are agents out there, microbes and viruses, that are really serious pathogens that can infect us, and the importance of vaccine research, the importance of research in antivirals because its was that. That was needed to come up with the H1N1 vaccine. And I know it’s in short supply right now, but still, that is the product of a research program funded principally by the government that really has been incredibly important to securing and safeguarding our public health," said Dewhurst.
The New York Influenza Center of Excellence opened at the URMC in 2007. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases gave the university a $26 million, 7-year contract to do the research.
University of Rochester