News Release: Research, School of Medicine

Jul. 16,  2009

Flu Vaccine Clinical Trial at Emory Studies Pregnant Women

Although seasonal flu vaccine has been recommended for more than 10 years for pregnant women, researchers are seeking more specific information about how the vaccine affects these women's immune responses to the seasonal influenza virus. Pregnant women are considered a high-risk group for flu and are more vulnerable to complications such as pneumonia or hospitalization.

Physician/researchers at the Emory Vaccine Center are conducting a clinical trial to evaluate immune responses and the safety of seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine in pregnant women. The study is directed by the national Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Units (VTEU) network of the National Institutes of Health.

"Through my experience as an obstetrician, I know how dangerous flu can be for pregnant women," says Kevin Ault, MD, associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory School of Medicine and principal investigator of the clinical trial. "I have seen a number of pregnant women become seriously ill with the flu. We need more information about how well the flu vaccine works in pregnant women so we can better protect them."

Many studies have shown that flu vaccine during pregnancy is safe. The current study will evaluate antibody responses but also will re-evaluate safety. The information will be important to researchers developing improved strategies to protect this high-risk group from both seasonal and pandemic H1N1 influenza.

Up to 200 women at eight VTEU sites nationwide will be evaluated in the study, led nationally by Baylor College of Medicine. Emory researchers will enroll 20 volunteers in the study.

For more information about the clinical trial, call 404-727-4044, or visit


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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