Five medical centers around the country are enlisting more than 1,500 volunteers for a government-sponsored study of the most effective way to administer the anthrax vaccine.
The study will test whether injecting the vaccine directly into muscle, rather than just under the skin as is now done, makes it more effective or reduces the risk of side effects such as swelling and pain. The study also will test whether the vaccine can be as effective with fewer shots.
Current recommendations for the vaccine, developed in 1970, call for six shots given over 18 months. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers have refused anthrax shots, concerned about side effects such as fatigue and memory loss. The government says severe side effects are rare.
The study, paid for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be conducted at Emory University, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
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