Universal flu vaccine that protects against 6 influenza viruses tested in mice

January 15, 2020

There is promise for a universal influenza vaccine as scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, US, have developed a breakthrough nanoparticle vaccine that has proven effective against at least six different strains of the influenza virus in mice. Influenza is a respiratory illness commonly spread through infection. The unique, double-layered nanoparticle vaccine has been designed to contain influenza virus proteins – matrix protein-2-ectodomain (M2e) and neuraminidase (NA), in particular – which, according to biology student Ye Wang “confers strong cross-protection” against the contagious disease, even up to four months after immunisation.

In the lab, the nanoparticle vaccine injected in mice uses M2e as its core while NA is coated on the surface –although found in all influenza virus strains, both proteins have mutated much slower than other influenza proteins.Unlike NA,another vital protein, haemaglutinin (HA), mutates very quickly. So, someone who has the flu this year and develops immunity against that particular HA protein may need another shot the next flu season as the HA protein would have changed form, rendering the previous protection obsolete. This is why seasonal flu vaccines must be modified by scientists every year; lab manager at the institute, Gilbert Gonzalez, said NA is therefore becoming more important to influenza vaccine research than HA.

The researchers plan to use this nanoparticle vaccine in microneedle patches for easier skin vaccination, but with the recent influenza outbreak in the Southeast Asian region, a universal influenza vaccine would be ideal to eliminate public health threats of influenza epidemics and pandemics. Such a vaccine would also eliminate the need for vaccinations every turn of the season.


Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

Comments are closed.