Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel flu vaccine shows promise in mice

27.05.2003


If successful in humans, vaccine could eliminate annual flu shot



Globally, the influenza virus, or flu, is thought to cause between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization. New strains of the virus emerge each year, so that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other public health services must produce and distribute a new vaccine against the new flu strains each year. And each year, people seeking to avoid a flu infection must arrange to receive a flu shot - rarely a pleasant experience - from their doctor or other health-care provider. Also, the effectiveness of the vaccine is known to decline in the elderly, a population for whom flu infections can be particularly dangerous.

A new prototype vaccine developed by researchers at The Wistar Institute, however, might be able to protect recipients not only against this year’s strains of the virus, but also against those yet to come, possibly eliminating the need for an annual shot. In fact, because the vaccine would be administered as a nasal spray, it could eliminate the need for a shot of any kind. A report on the new findings appears in the June 2 issue of the journal Vaccine.


"Current vaccines are quite effective, but they are based on regions of the virus that mutate rapidly, so health officials are constantly faced with the problem of updating the vaccines," says Walter Gerhard, M.D., senior author on the Vaccine report and a professor in the immunology program at The Wistar Institute. "A vaccine directed against a more stable region of the virus would offer important public-health advantages, and this is what we are hoping to be able to develop."

Current flu vaccines trigger an immune response to a pair of prominent viral-coat proteins that mutate constantly, which is the reason last year’s flu vaccine is ineffective against this year’s flu strains. The experimental vaccine contains an engineered peptide that mimics a third, smaller viral-coat protein called M2 that remains largely constant from year to year.

Mice vaccinated with the vaccine generated a strong antibody response against M2. In fact, the mice generated a more powerful antibody response to the vaccine than to infections by the flu virus itself, according to Gerhard.

"We saw a significant antibody response to our peptide vaccine," he says. "Actually, the response was much stronger than what we saw in mice recovering from infections, which was surprising. This may be meaningful in terms of the potential effectiveness of the vaccine as we go forward."

The experimental vaccine was administered twice intranasally to mice. After vaccination, a steep rise in M2-specific antibodies was seen in blood samples from the mice, and the mice exhibited significant resistance to viral replication in the respiratory tract.

Ongoing experiments in the Gerhard laboratory are exploring the questions of how and why the new flu vaccine is able to produce a stronger antibody response than infections, which are generally considered the best way to generate resistance to any pathogen.

Also, Gerhard is looking into whether the M2 element of the virus might begin to mutate in the presence of the anti-M2 antibodies generated by the new vaccine. His concern is that the observed viral stability in the M2 region of the flu virus may simply be a reflection of the fact that the immune system does not mount a vigorous response to it, so that evolutionary pressure on that region of the virus is not great.

"Among human influenza virus strains, there is little variation in the M2 region," Gerhard says. "That could be due to the fact that humans do not generate a significant antibody response to it, so that the virus does not need to change to escape those antibodies."

Wistar associate professor Laszlo Otvos, Jr., Ph.D., collaborated on the study. Krystyna Mozdzanowska was the lead author. The remaining coauthors, all Wistar-based, are JingQi Feng, Mark Eid, Goran Kragol, and Mare Cudic.

Support for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health.


The Wistar Institute is an independent nonprofit biomedical research institution dedicated to discovering the causes and cures for major diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. Founded in 1892 as the first institution of its kind in the nation, The Wistar Institute today is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center - one of only eight focused on basic research. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the development of vaccines for such diseases as rabies and rubella, the identification of genes associated with breast, lung, and prostate cancer, and the development of monoclonal antibodies and other significant research technologies and tools.

Franklin Hoke | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wistar.upenn.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

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: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solar Collectors from Ultra-High Performance Concrete Combine Energy Efficiency and Aesthetics

16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News

3D scans for the automotive industry

16.01.2017 | Automotive Engineering

Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs

16.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>