Bird flu triallists sought

A Broadmeadow-based medical practice has been chosen as one of four sites in Australia to be part of a global trial of a bird flu vaccine.

Hunter Clinical Research, a private clinical trial practice, is looking for 140 healthy people to help assess the lowest possible effective dose of a new vaccine.

The United Nations wants to get 1billion vaccines stockpiled in case the H5N1 virus mutates enough to enable it to spread from human to human.

At present it is only spreads from birds to humans.

In November last year, 50,000 chickens had to be culled near Maitland after contracting bird flu, not the H5N1 strain, but cases of the deadly strain continue to arise globally.

Dr Marc Russo, who runs a pain management clinic at Broadmeadow, established Hunter Clinical Research as an arm of his practice in 2006, to allow patients access to some of the experimental drugs being trialled to treat chronic pain.

The clinical trials outlet was so successful, it now runs up to 15 various trials a year, but the avian flu vaccine trial is a major coup.

Dr Russo said each participant would have the vaccine and a booster at 12 months. People must be 18 to 65 and healthy to participate.

To join the trial, phone 49851800.