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 email@example.com.
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!
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News