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SDSU Hires Scientists to Focus on the Flu

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Aired 7/22/09

San Diego State has increased its health science research capacity by adding five immunologists to its Bioscience Center. KPBS reporter Tom Fudge says that two of them are focused on fighting the flu.

— San Diego State University has increased its health science research capacity by adding five immunologists to its Bioscience Center. KPBS reporter Tom Fudge says that two of them are focused on fighting the flu.

SDSU has been a poor cousin to UCSD when it comes to medical research. But professor Edward Morgan is one researcher who has brought the search for more effective flu vaccines to campus. Morgan says swine flu is one example of how influenza can evolve in deadly, unpredictable ways.

"The virulence of this organism has, in some regards, been underestimated," he says. "So I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think we've seen the worst of it yet."

The swine flu has been linked to the deaths of nine people in San Diego so far. Morgan has spent many years developing what he calls an adjuvant, which boosts immune respond to flu and other pathogens. He and another SDSU colleague are also looking for ways to target parts of the influenza virus that don't evolve, making them fixed targets for medication.

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