WASHINGTON (AP) – Scientists have long wondered if giving shots in advance might help – a vaccine that wouldn’t fully protect but would introduce people’s immune systems to a brand new type of flu. Then, once a pandemic began, they’d need only one booster shot of vaccine.

Friday, University of Rochester scientists reported the first evidence that this so-called “prime-and-boost” method might work.

They tracked down 37 people who had tested an experimental bird flu vaccine back in 1998.

Eight years after the volunteers got those first bird flu shots, the Rochester scientists gave them each a single booster dose.The booster method worked better than simply vaccinating people.

with the Vietnam strain for the first time, the scientists will report Friday at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

More than twice as many of the booster shot recipients had a protective immune response compared with those who got a single first-ever vaccine. And the booster recipients even responded a little better than those who got two first-ever doses.

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