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A study performed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases indicates that the combination of the substance Adjuvant increases the effectiveness of the H7N9 vaccine. It has been posited that the stores of vaccine created can be stretched further to avoid potential shortages ensuring the maximum benefit to public health.
During the study, 700 healthy adults were provided varying combinations of the vaccine alone and combined with adjuvant. It was found that those groups that received the vaccine alone often presented with the lowest immune system response that may not be effective at stopping infection. However, with just small doses of adjuvant combined with the H7N9 vaccine, the immune response reaches high enough levels to suggest patients would be protected from infection.
H7N9, or Avian Influenza, is a virus that currently utilizes bird species as hosts and is transmitted in this way to humans. Human-to-human contact is currently not a vector for this flu virus. However, in order to prevent/control potential outbreaks, more effective vaccines are needed. Avian Influenza was first recognized in humans in 2013 and has since resulted in a 67% hospitalization rate. Confirmed cases of H7N9 now exceed 450 and have resulted in 166 deaths.
As indicated, at this time the H7N9 influenza virus does not threaten us with person to person transmission, however, researchers indicate that mutation is likely. Breakthroughs such as this can help provide greater protection from contagion.