Researchers asking for volunteers to help make the flu vaccine better

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Doctors in the area on the forefront of flu vaccine research are asking for your help. They're conducting a study to make flu vaccines better. People that volunteer will get one of two typical flu vaccines that cover four strains, but some may get additives to see if their bodies respond better.

Some people get their flu shot every year like clockwork.

“I much rather do that then spend three, four, five days sick. Who wants to deal with that?!," says Tammy Grant.

But some swear, the vaccines just don’t work well for them.

“The efficacy of the vaccines are about 30 to 60% which is not great. It’s better than nothing but it’s not great," says Dr. Sharon Frey.

She and her team are conducting a study to see if they can make them work better for more people.

“We’re not necessarily looking at this vaccine to see if it’s protective. The purpose of looking at these vaccines, at this point in time, is to see whether the immune response when given with adjuvant or not is better. We will look at the blood to see if there are more antibodies responding," Dr. Sharon Frey explains.

Dr. Frey is looking for healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 45. They need to come in 10 times over the next year for the study. The results could get science one step closer to overcoming the ever-evolving flu virus.

“We’re hoping that if we ever develop a universal vaccine that we can play a bigger trick on the viruses than they can play on us. Hopefully, we'll only need one vaccine that will work against many viruses even after they mutate," she says.

“That’s an exciting prospect. It would be nice to make sure we can provide broader coverage and it would also be great to not have to do it every single year," says Grant.

According to the CDC during the 2017-2018 flu season, nearly 960,000 people were hospitalized with the flu and nearly 80,000 people died it.  To learn more about vaccine research being conducted at Saint Louis University, call 314-977-6333 or email vaccine@slu.edu. For more information on this study, please visit ClinicalTrials.gov or click or tap this link.

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