In Infectious Disease/Vaccine, News, Press Release


WCCT Global can Conduct Influenza Challenge Research in the United States

COSTA MESA, Calif., January 15, 2015/PRNewswire-iReach/—WCCT Global a full service contract research organization headquartered in Southern California announced today the beginning of a collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for influenza challenge research with the signing of a research collaboration agreement. With the construction of WCCT Global’s influenza challenge research facility in Costa Mesa, California, the CRO has the capability to conduct virus challenge clinical trials in North America.

WCCT Global’s  Senior Vice President, Translational Medicine, Mel Affrime stated,  “Experimental influenza virus infection in healthy volunteers provides an opportunity to describe the natural history of this self-limiting illness by watching the entire disease lifecycle as healthy subjects  develop a mild-to-moderate course of influenza and then fully recover.   Therefore, the observer can obtain high quality, longitudinal data from all phases (before, during and after) of the illness.  Ultimately, the experimental influenza challenge research model can be used in many ways to study influenza, including the efficacy of new therapies such as antiviral drugs and vaccines.  Expansion of this type of model apply both to WCCT Global and the NIAID and serve as the basis for this Collaboration Agreement.”

Despite their utility, human challenge studies with influenza in healthy volunteers have not been performed in over a decade in the United States due to the complicated nature of such studies and availability of the appropriate viruses and expertise.  NIAID scientist, Dr.Matthew Memoli, director, Clinical Studies Unit, Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, developed a validated A(H1N1)pdm09 human challenge model and is continuing to develop human models to characterize illness with other common forms of influenza virus.  These models set the standard for future challenge models to be developed and NIAID has entered into this collaboration to begin to expand the influenza challenge research model beyond the NIH Clinical Center to serve the growing demands of the vaccine and pharmaceutical industry.

More About WCCT Global’s Influenza Challenge Research Facility:


More Information about the NIAID:

The Clinical Studies Unit of the Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section of the Laboratory of Infectious Disease in NIAID is a research group that develops clinical and translational studies of influenza and other respiratory viruses with particular attention to human influenza pathogenesis.  The development of influenza challenge viruses and overall models to study human disease are a primary focus with great attention to informing novel vaccine and therapeutic development.  This group is part of a larger section of respiratory viral research that includes studies of animal models, viral evolution, host response, and viral adaptation.

For more information on WCCT Global’s Influenza Challenge Research, Send email HERE

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