NZ children to be part of international flu study

Wellington children will be part of a major international research project aimed at developing a universal flu vaccine.

The $4.5m study will follow the children for the first seven years of life.

Los Angeles and Nicaragua has also been chosen by the US National Institutes of Health to take part in the study.

The WellKiwis study will enrol 600 children in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua and monitor any flu-like illnesses for seven years.

The aim is to understand how first exposure to flu viruses imprints the immune system and its response to subsequent exposures.

New Zealand's Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR) said the study would pave the way for a universal flu vaccine that could save millions of lives worldwide.