Vanderbilt University Site For H7N9 Research Study - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vanderbilt University Site For H7N9 Research Study

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Dr. Kathryn Edwards with Vanderbilt University Dr. Kathryn Edwards with Vanderbilt University

by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There is a new strain of the Bird Flu in China and researchers in the United States are preparing, just in case H7N9 makes its way to this part of the world.

Experts think this latest strain took hold in the poultry markets of eastern China.

"The birds that have the H7 virus are not sick, so it's hard to know that they have a virus that might be communicated," said Dr. Kathryn Edwards at Vanderbilt University.

This latest strain is not easily transmitted between humans, but 150 people in China have been diagnosed with the virus.

"About a third of the people that have gotten the H7 infection have actually died from it, so it's a severe infection," according to Dr. Edwards.

Right now, there are no signs that H7N9 will make its way to the United States, but experts know it could quickly spread.

"When the pandemic of H1N1 occurred, that began in Mexico and it didn't take very long before it was all over the world," Dr. Edwards said.

Vanderbilt is one of five centers in the nation that are taking part in a national study of 1,000 people who will test a vaccine.

"We are looking for healthy people, who do not have any underlying medical conditions, who are between the ages of 19 and 64," said Dr. Edwards.

Participants are paid to take part in the study, that will take several visits to the research center.

"Today we gave five doses of vaccine, and we've been screening a lot of people. And over the next six weeks we will immunize 200 people with this vaccine," Dr. Edwards explained.

She said participants will not get the strain of fly by taking part in this study.

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