Influenza History and Vaccine…Plus a Clinical Trial at Velocity Clinical Research

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection which can present with symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening, including cough, runny nose, congestion, fever, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also be experienced, but these are symptoms more typical to children. The flu is an airborne virus easily spread by simply talking to an infected person, the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, touching an infected person or touching surfaces contaminated by an infected person. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately three to five million people catch the flu and between about 300,000 to 650,000 people die from it around the world each year. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 resulted in 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide, but not until 1942 was a flu vaccine introduced. 

Here’s why. Up until the Spanish Flu, researchers believed the flu to be caused by bacteria. As we now know, that isn’t the case. Influenza is caused by a virus, and that was not confirmed by researchers until the 1930s.

Specifically, in 1933, the Influenza A virus, one of the three types of influenza, was isolated in ferrets by scientists. Then, in 1936, a key discovery was made, which led toward the development of a viable flu vaccine – scientists were able to grow the influenza virus in eggs. This enabled the scientist who also developed the vaccine for polio to create the first flu vaccine in 1938 using an active strain of the virus in fertilized chicken eggs.

First used to protect serving WWII soldiers against infection, this particular vaccine – which was proven to lessen the severity of flu symptoms in infected patients with a fever above 99 degrees – was not approved for the general public until 1946. Today, vaccines are purified, but at that time, they weren’t as pure. As a result, this influenza vaccine could produce side effects including certain flu symptoms – which led certain vaccinated parties to believe that they contracted the flu from the vaccine. As you might expect, those circumstances and the fact that this vaccine only protected against one of the three flu types, caused much of the initial excitement about the innovative medical advancement to wane.

Each type of influenza, with Influenza A and B being the most common, possesses its own unique viral strain and mutates independently every season as well. In 1942, a flu vaccine which worked on both Influenza A & B was developed.

Then, in 1976, the flu season and subsequent seasonal flu vaccination frenzy we know today began its slow trek after the Swine Flu outbreak in New Jersey prompted the federal government to allocate millions of dollars for vaccine research and production preceding each flu season.

Ultimately, these efforts did not go really well either. Due to these particular influenza vaccinations causing nerve damage and paralysis in hundreds of vaccinated people, the public began to fear the flu vaccine. So, the Swine Flu vaccination program was canceled.

However, the research and production for seasonal flu vaccines ensued. The continual challenge was that each strain of flu quickly mutates. So, it was (as it still is, to this day) difficult to precisely nail down a vaccine that is the “be all – end all”.

Then, in 2003, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a nasal spray influenza vaccine which used a weaker, live strain of the virus in its battle against the flu. Every year, scientists track the severity and spread of flu outbreaks as well as mutations in each specific flu strain in an effort to gain valuable knowledge which helps us improve our predictions and better target the flu strains which will be most prevalent in the coming year.

Currently, influenza vaccines are the best defense we have against the flu, but they are still not 100 percent effective in the fight against influenza. Consequently, it is imperative that we continually conduct influenza clinical trials to combat this potentially dangerous virus.

The highly acclaimed medical and research professionals at the Velocity Clinical Research facility are wholly dedicated to the discovery of medical innovations resulting in a healthier world and subsequent improvements in quality of life, as well as increasing our ability to save lives. Consistent efforts by the committed medical advancement professionals at Velocity Clinical Research continually make medicines, treatments and preventions more effective and more readily available. As part of that ongoing commitment to improving health and lives worldwide, Velocity Clinical Research will be conducting influenza clinical trials. 

Though the unrelenting efforts made by the researchers and medical personnel throughout the Velocity clinical trials are, by far, one of the most important factors in the advancement of medicine, there is another element which is just as vital to the success of medical innovations. That element is the participation of clinical trial volunteers, because without clinical research volunteers, there would be no clinical trials and we would be excessively limited in our pursuit, development and improvement upon illness preventions, diagnosis, treatments and cures. With the help of clinical trial volunteers, we are consistently making our world a better place through medical discoveries.

Setting the pace in clinical research and medical advancements created through clinical trials, Velocity Clinical Research is an award-winning research facility, fully staffed with highly credentialed doctors and research professionals. We work one-on-one with our clinical trial volunteers to monitor and assess the benefits and effectiveness of certain treatments throughout the clinical trial process. Velocity Clinical Research clinical study volunteers are compensated, no health insurance is required and clinical research volunteers may benefit from the use of medications or treatments before they are available to the general public. Velocity Clinical Research is conveniently located at 1410 S. Ridgewood Avenue in the beautiful beachside community of Edgewater, Florida. 

If you would like to see if you are eligible for the Velocity influenza clinical study or you would simply like more information, you are welcome to call Velocity Clinical Research at 386-428-7730 Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.