COSTA MESA ( — A Costa Mesa research lab is using Southland volunteers to test for a new flu vaccine.

CBS2’s Rachel Kim reports that WCCT Global is a contract research organization that conducts clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies to help develop new flu vaccines.

CEO Dr. Kenneth Kim said the trials begin with a group of healthy volunteers who are given the H1N1 flu virus. One group is given a vaccine or drug and the other is given a placebo.

“And then you’re seeing if you see a difference in the two groups. If there is a difference, you would say, ‘Oh, this drug or this vaccine actually works,’” Dr. Kim said.

Dr. Kim said the facility where the clinical trials and research take place is one of only two in the world equipped to do such testing.

“Each person gets their own bed…they get TV, Internet access, their own desk. It’s just a comfortable place for them to hang out for five to eight days while they’re infected with the virus,” he said.

The rooms have separate ventilation systems so workers don’t get sick.

Dr. Kim said the trials can also see whether the vaccine or drug prevent the flu.

“Give the vaccine first or a placebo. And then a few days later you can then give the influenza virus,” he said.

Dr. Kim said WCCT Global helped develop Tamiflu and many other popular drugs. He’s excited about what happens next.

“These trials will end up resulting in effective medicines and vaccines that will end up on the market,” he said.


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