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 Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

More genes are active in high-performance maize

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

How plants see light

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>