ST. PETERSBURG, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - Clinical tests of a live swine flu vaccine started in the northwest Russian city of St. Petersburg on Thursday.
The Influenza Research Institute received the A/H1N1 strain for vaccine research from the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 12.
"Today we are starting research to evaluate the safety and efficiency of a live viral vaccine," said Marina Stukova, chief researcher for molecular virology and gene engineering at the institute.
She said the research, including inactivated vaccine tests to be launched after September 18, should be completed in November.
The tests will be closed to the press. The first stage to last 31 days will involve 30 volunteers. They will spend about a week in hospital, and will later have to make several visits to the research institute. The second group to receive the live virus vaccine will be tested for 42 days.
The new vaccine will also be tested in Sergiyev Posad, 75 km northeast of Moscow, so a total of 60 volunteers will be involved. Each of them will be paid 10,000 rubles ($320).
Alla, 25, a charity fund employee, told a RIA Novosti correspondent she was motivated by the need to help people.
"Our fund works with children, and I have my beliefs," she said.
A 19-year-old physics student, Nastya, said she was mostly motivated by the reward, but also said she would dedicate her thesis to the issue.
Eduard, aged 48, who also volunteered for research at the same institute in the mid-1990s, returned.
"If I can help society and earn some money at the same time, why not?" he told RIA Novosti.
As of August 26, 211 people have been diagnosed with swine flu in Russia. There have been no reported deaths, while more than 3,200 people have died from swine flu worldwide, according to WHO data from last week.