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Children Testing Nasal Flu Vaccine

Hundreds of young children are getting a cocktail of weakened flu viruses squirted up their noses this fall in final tests of what may become the nation’s first nasal vaccine to fight influenza.

If it works, Americans would get an alternative to a flu shot - and proponents foresee more people being protected against the flu’s yearly miseries.

Aviron Inc.’s nasal vaccine - which uses a live but weakened flu virus instead of the killed virus in today’s shots - is the furthest in development.

Some 1,000 children ages 1 to 6, an age group where flu runs rampant, are being enrolled at 10 medical centers nationwide for final testing, said Aviron researcher Dr. Paul Mendelman. Half will get Aviron’s vaccine squirted up their noses, while the rest get a squirt of placebo.

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