Houston boy with swine flu takes part in study
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The number of swine flu cases continues to rise, but local researchers at Baylor College of Medicine are busy trying to find a vaccine and they're getting some help from a sick student at Travis Elementary School.
Health officials now say there are 24 confirmed cases at Travis Elementary. That school is closed until May 26, but one of the students who got sick with the virus isn't just sitting at home.
Mario Doval-Garcia, 9, and his mother arrived at the Baylor College of Medicine. Eyewitness News spoke to Mario moments before he went inside the building. He says he is feeling better than he has in days in fact, he's feeling pretty heroic right now.
"Because I have conquered the swine and I didn't even know that I had the swine and this is my first time getting the flu," he said.
Mario, a third grader at Travis Elementary, had been in isolation at home since Friday when he was diagnosed, along with what are now 23 other classmates. His mom says the whole family is now on Tamiflu to keep from spreading the virus.
Now, Mario won't benefit from a swine flu vaccine. He already had the virus. But he is eager to help researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine create one, even if it means subject himself to some poking and prodding.
"If we want to help stop that flu, why not?" said Mario.
By taking part in this study, Mario will help scientists get a better understanding of the illness they're battling, something Mario's mother, Dr. Jacqueline Doval, told Eyewitness News she wished she had had when her son first got sick.
"I do tend to overreact sometimes. But it's like when there was so much misinformation out there and so much confusion about what was going on," said Dr. Doval. "I think that made it more nerve-wracking."
Today, researchers will take blood samples and do some throat and nasal swabs from Mario. Several of his classmates have volunteered for the project. This is one of only eight in the country working towards a vaccine and if it works, Mario's sacrifices could help researchers develop a shot as early as this summer.
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