British volunteers may be the first to test a new vaccine against the bird flu, it was announced yesterday.
British vaccine developers PowderMed have applied for permission to conduct the trial.
The vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu would also use needle-free injections, using a technology developed by the Oxford company. The technology uses gold particles coated with DNA.
Developers say the new vaccine has been successful in laboratory studies.
Permission for the study will need to come from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
PowerMed chief executive Dr Clive Dix said: "Our approach provides a rapid route to vaccine development that can be applied to existing and emerging flu strains including, for example, the threat posed by a pandemic flu strain.
"DNA vaccines have a huge potential to limit the burden of disease and can be manufactured very rapidly, in large amounts: enough to vaccinate the whole of the UK population twice over (prime and boost) requires just 1Kg of DNA and can be manufactured and available in just three months from the point a strain is identified."