New research published today (Monday April 27) from the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust warns of a six-month time lag before effective vaccines can be manufactured in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak.
By that time, the first wave of pandemic flu may be over before people are vaccinated, says Dr Iain Stephenson, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester.
In his paper published in PNAS- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA- Dr Stephenson makes the first case for a pre-pandemic vaccine to mitigate the worst effects of pandemic flu.
He said: "This study is the first to show an effective pre-pandemic vaccine approach. This means that we could vaccinate people potentially many years before a pandemic, to generate memory cells that are long lasting and can be rapidly boosted by a single dose of vaccine when needed."
Dr Stephenson, of the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester, said: "If an influenza pandemic occurs, vaccination will to be the main way to protect the population. The major current threat seems to be from avian influenza H5N1 (bird flu) which has spread rapidly around the world and causes human infections and deaths.
"Unfortunately, if a pandemic occurs, it will take up to six months to manufacture effective vaccine, so the first waves of the pandemic may be over before people are vaccinated. Furthermore, most people need two doses of H5 pandemic vaccine to get protection- so this adds a further delay.
"To reduce any delay, we could consider stockpiling vaccine or immunizing people with vaccine prepared in advance -(a so called 'pre-pandemic vaccine' - to protect them before a future pandemic.
"However, we don't know which strain of influenza will cause the pandemic. There are several strains of H5N1 virus, so we can't be sure of which virus strain to make pre-pandemic vaccine from. Therefore a 'pre-pandemic' vaccine needs to give cross protection to as many H5 strains as possible."
Dr Stephenson and his team conducted a study comparing the effect of a single H5 bird flu vaccine dose to people who had been vaccinated with an H5 vaccine previously with people who had not previously received vaccine. The aim was the test out the idea of a pre-pandemic vaccination approach.
He said: "We found that those people who received H5 vaccine between 1999 and 2001 responded very well to a single dose of a newer H5 vaccine. They had memory cells that gave a rapid protective response within 7 days of the repeat vaccine. Also the response was very broad and able to protect against all known strains of H5N1 virus.
"In contrast, those people who had not been previously vaccinated with H5 vaccine, behaved as we had expected. They required 2 doses of vaccine and got good antibody responses up to 6 weeks after the first dose."
Dr Stephenson added that this was the first study to show an effective pre-pandemic vaccine approach.
The trial subjects were all recruited at the University of Leicester or University Hospitals of Leicester.For more information, please contact
Novartis VaccinesKathy Hancock; Joshua DeVos; Jacqueline Katz
Dr. Iain Stephenson | EurekAlert!
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals
Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.
Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
03.12.2018 | Event News
11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
11.12.2018 | Information Technology