N. Texas Researchers Search for Swine Flu Vaccine

Baylor researchers in Dallas have been awarded a grant to create and test a therapeutic vaccine to treat the swine flu.

The National Institutes of Health awarded scientists at Baylor Institute for Immunology a $14 million grant to create a swine flu vaccine. Scientists will also develop advanced technologies that could be used to detect many other diseases, such as cancer, and infectious and autoimmune diseases.

It will not be a vaccine that you take every fall like you do the seasonal flu shot.

"This is going to be a therapeutic vaccine. In other words, you develop the disease, we will treat you immediately with a vaccine that will actually treat it and stop it in its tracks," said Dr. Michael Ramsay, President of the Baylor Research Institute.

Researchers will also develop tests to detect the swine flu faster.

"We will be able to run a test out at the airport, have a box there that will be able to tell us within an hour or two if this person has swine flu, the Ebola virus, whatever, and not have everyone scared for the next seven days to see whether it develops into something," said Ramsay.

While the therapeutic swine flu vaccine is already in the works at Baylor in Dallas, Ramsay said the public probably will not see it for at least two years.

Researchers said the bigger picture is that healthcare systems need to be prepared for emerging infectious diseases as world health communities fear nations could be paralyzed.

"We need to have a rapid response to these bugs in diagnosis, which we are developing and already have, and then be able to respond to them directly," Ramsay said.

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