'Eureka' moment for Oxford flu researchers

Oxford University scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in protecting children from swine flu.

Last year 949 children took part in a study of two vaccines developed to counter the H1N1 virus.

Project leader Professor Andrew Pollard said there was "concern" about treatment for children.

He said: "The Eureka moment has been showing that one of the vaccines worked particularly well in young children."

"This is great news for the future development of flu vaccines. Up until now most of the vaccines we have, really don't work very well," he added.

Side effects monitored

Two vaccines were tested and Pandemrx was found to be more effective at creating anti-bodies in the blood than Celvapan.

However, the Department of Health said both provided "good protection".

The children were given two doses and were monitored to see whether they had side effects, such as high temperatures or sore arms.

During the five-week study, researchers discovered only a small minority had side effects.

Children from five areas in the United Kingdom, including Oxfordshire, were involved.

'Good protection'

Sharon Telling, from Sonning Common, volunteered her three children, aged three, two and seven months old.

She said: "Their part was very simple, they just went along and had injections. We had no side-effects whatsoever."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Thanks to early data from this Government funded study, independent experts on vaccination were able to help put our swine flu vaccination programme in place.

"It is good to see evidence that both the vaccines used in the UK provided good protection in children".

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