Researchers at the Vaccine Testing Center at the University of Vermont will be a testing a new West Nile Virus vaccine.
“Certainly we've seen people with West Nile Virus infection here in Vermont,” infectious disease physician Kristen Pierce said.
In 2013 two people tested positive for the disease in the green mountain state. According to the Center for Disease Control In 2012 there were 5,674 infections in the United States and 286 deaths.
But a vaccine developed by the National Institute of Health is showing promise. Now the lab here at UVM is running the next set of trials for it. They're looking for 14 volunteers to administer the vaccine to in May.
“We follow them closely, we monitor their blood ,we see them for physician or clinician visit,” Pierce said.
“The vaccine has been tested before in 18 to 50 year olds but this is the first time it's being tested in 50 to 65 age group.
“Because that's the population that's at the greatest risk of the neurologic form of the disease,” Pierce said.
Those symptoms only happen in about 1 percent of infections but the hope is the vaccine can keep that from happening by building up immunity in patients, which the lab will be testing for.
“We can tell how much antibody is there,” Pierce said.
They can't tell yet when the vaccine will be ready but this stage of testing at UVM might be the most important one yet.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the study contact the Vaccine Testing Center.