Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A flu vaccine that lasts

07.12.2010
NIH scientists consider prospects for a universal influenza vaccine

WHAT: The costly, time-consuming process of making, distributing and administering millions of seasonal flu vaccines would become obsolete if researchers could design a vaccine that confers decades-long protection from any flu virus strain.

Making such a universal influenza vaccine is feasible but licensing it may require innovation on several fronts, including finding new ways to evaluate the efficacy of vaccine candidates in clinical trials, conclude scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

In a Nature Medicine commentary, authors Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID director, and Gary J. Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIAID Vaccine Research Center, contrast the envisioned universal influenza vaccine with today's seasonal influenza vaccines. Current seasonal flu vaccines prompt immune responses that mimic those made following natural exposure to the flu virus. Both exposure and vaccination elicit antibodies directed at the roundish head portion of a lollypop-shaped flu protein called hemagglutinin (HA). But the composition of HA's head changes from year to year, gradually becoming unrecognizable to previously made antibodies. Thus, vaccination—which induces antibodies tailored to that year's HA head region—must be repeated annually to maintain immunity to the virus.

A universal flu vaccine would have to elicit a type of immune response that rarely occurs naturally, note Drs. Fauci and Nabel. A detailed understanding of flu virus structure may make such a vaccine possible, they add. For example, scientists have identified a region of HA's stem that is shared among diverse strains, and a research group at NIAID's Vaccine Research Center recently created influenza vaccines that elicit antibodies aimed at this shared region, rather than at the quick-changing head. Animals that received the experimental vaccines were protected from a diverse array of flu virus strains.

In essence, say the authors, thanks to the growing body of knowledge about flu viruses and their interactions with the cells of humans and animals they infect, it may one day be possible to make a universal flu vaccine that improves on nature. They also outline how such a vaccine might proceed through stages of clinical testing and on toward licensing. For example, they sort the 16 known influenza virus subtypes into three tiers based on their likelihood of causing widespread disease in humans. Drs. Fauci and Nabel suggest that vaccine development might be prioritized to produce first-generation universal influenza vaccine candidates that protect against multiple virus strains within the highest priority group.

For more information about NIAID research on influenza, visit the NIAID flu Web portal.

ARTICLE: GJ Nabel and AS Fauci. Induction of unnatural immunity: Prospects for a broadly protective universal influenza vaccine. Nature Medicine DOI: nm.2272 (2010)

WHO: NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and Gary J. Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., director, Vaccine Research Center, NIAID, are available to discuss their paper.

CONTACT: To schedule interviews, please contact Anne A. Oplinger in the NIAID Office of Communications at 301-402-1663 or niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov

Anne A. Oplinger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>