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VALLERY BROWN Modified: July 24, 2009 at 9:56 am •  Published: July 24, 2009
Some Oklahoma children will get a swine flu vaccine before it is available to the public. If clinical trials go well, the vaccine could be available in limited supplies by mid to late fall, experts said.

But some officials fear the already fast-tracked studies may not be swift enough to curb the disease’s quick spread.

IPS Research in Oklahoma City is the first Oklahoma company to conduct the vaccination trials and will begin enrolling study patients Aug. 17, said IPS Research medical director Dr. Louise Thurman.

The trials will test the vaccine’s effectiveness and whether or not it has negative side effects in patients.

She anticipates about 200 children ages 3 to 8 will be able to enroll.

Patients accepted for the study will be administered a vaccine or placebo and are monitored through office visits and by phone. The study lasts 42 days and follow-up calls continue after that period.

Nationwide, 12,000 children will be given the vaccine for the trial, she said. The company should know today whether it will conduct adult trials, too.

"From a science standpoint, it should work,” Thurman said.

A race for a vaccine
"There is likelihood that we could have widespread disease in Oklahoma before we have a vaccine,” said Don Blose, chief of immunization services for the state Health Department.

He said the H1N1 strain spreads more quickly than other influenzas and more than half of the reported cases have been in children. Also, some antiviral drugs don’t work against the swine flu, he said.

This is why the studies are being allowed to progress more quickly than usual by the federal government.

Vaccine doses headed to U.S.

• The U.S. expects to have 160 million doses of swine flu vaccine available in October, even though manufacturers worldwide are having trouble brewing the shots, federal health officials said Thursday. More vaccine would trickle out over the following months.

• A surprise bright spot: The U.S. has the world’s only nasal-spray flu vaccine, and FluMist’s maker announced Thursday that it’s producing plenty — so many millions of doses a month that it can’t keep up with putting them into the special sprayer required to use it. So Maryland-based MedImmune Inc. is working with the government to see if it can race out a different method for fall, simply dripping its swine flu vaccine into people’s noses.

The Associated Press

Eight soldiers at the Mc-Alester Army Ammunition Plant have tested positive for swine flu in what health officials say is the largest single outbreak of the virus in the state. The plant’s medical director, Dr. Norman McAlester, said Wednesday most of the soldiers have recovered. He said all the soldiers who were ill wore face masks and were isolated from others who were taking part in a national training exercise at the plant.

The Associated Press


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