A breakthrough flu vaccine study in Christchurch could be the answer to containing the Zika virus.

The mosquito-borne virus is thought to have caused thousands of birth defects worldwide, while there's been more than 30 reported cases in New Zealand in the past year.

Now the Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust is conducting groundbreaking testing on a new oral influenza tablet.

Lead investigator Chris Wynne said the tablet could be the answer they've been looking for.


"It will have significant benefits in being able to be developed quickly in the face of a pandemic, and eventually we'll use that same technology hopefully to develop vaccines against Zika virus," Wynne said.

However, the clinical trial is in desperate need of participants.

"It's only about one in 10 people who put up their hand and say 'yes, I'm keen to go into the study' that can actually participate," Wynne said.

"So with that sort of dropout rate we need to have a few more volunteers here in Christchurch."