DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Duke Health is getting one step closer to developing a universal flu vaccine.

Last month, it began the first phase of clinical trials to develop a vaccine that protects against all strains of the flu.

It was created underneath the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) program, a multi-million dollar investment by the National Institiute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Chris Balambao has always been fascinated with clinical trials.

He’s been participating in vaccine research here at Duke Health for almost a decade.

“I love science. I love the whole process and this is kind of my way of trying to be a part of it,” said Balambao.

That’s why he was one of the first people to sign up for a clinical trial testing for a universal flu vaccine at Duke Health.

Dr. Emmanuel Walter is the principal investigator leading the trials.

“Currently we’re doing a first in human or first…called the phase one trial to test a new flu vaccine which is kind of a step towards doing a universal flu vaccine which gives you more cross protection,” said Dr. Walter.

He said during the course of the flu season the virus continues to change, making flu vaccines less effective.

The goal is to increase the vaccine’s effectiveness against seasonal and pandemic flu viruses.

“It’s really important to develop a vaccine that can give one cross protection against these little, small changes that can occur or a protection against when a big change occurs,” said Dr. Walter.

For this particular phase they’re testing out the safety of each dose.

Those at Duke Health say this is significant.

“If we can get something that will cover everything that’s out there…I mean, my god, how many people will that keep out of the ICU or keep from missing a day of work or just little stuff like that,” said Balambao.

50 people are participating in the clinical trial. Those who participate must be healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 49.

They’ll be monitored for a year.