New Zealand's Institute of Environmental Science and Research has been awarded a five year, multi-million dollar US contract to combat the flu virus around the world.

The project is paid for by the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is known as SHIVERS - the Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveillance.

It will be led by ESR with collaboration from the Universities of Auckland and Otago, the Auckland District Health Board and the World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre at St Jude Children's Hospital in the United States.

Health Minister Tony Ryall and the Minister for Science and Innovation Dr Wayne Mapp, said the successful bid is recognition of the quality of the New Zealand scientists working in this area.


"We had a glimpse of just how good the New Zealand teams are during the response to the swine flu pandemic in 2009, and this is an opportunity to make even greater advances in flu planning."

"The result will be greater knowledge about how the flu spreads, improved surveillance, and vaccination targets. And we will be helping the northern hemisphere plan for their flu season."

- NZ Herald Online