Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel pandemic flu vaccine effective against H5N1 in mice

02.03.2009
Vaccines against H5N1 influenza will be critical in countering a possible future pandemic. Yet public health experts agree that the current method of growing seasonal influenza vaccines in chicken eggs is slow and inefficient.

Scientists at the Emory Vaccine Center have developed an alternative: virus-like particles, empty shells that look like viruses but don't replicate. Mice immunized by nose drops with the virus-like particles (VLPs) were protected for months against an otherwise lethal H5N1 infection.

The results are described in the March issue of PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science ONE).

"These results suggest that VLPs could form the basis of an effective human vaccine against H5N1 influenza," says senior author Richard Compans, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Several worldwide influenza outbreaks have occurred during the past century, with the worst being the Spanish Flu of 1918, which killed more than 50 million people.

The H5N1 variant of influenza, found among birds in Asia in the 1990s, has killed the majority of the several hundred people known to have been infected with it. Public health officials fear that H5N1, to which the human population has not developed immunity, could evolve to be transmissible between humans and cause a global pandemic with very high mortality.

Making influenza vaccines in chicken eggs poses several disadvantages. Producing vaccines takes months. Making enough for millions of people could severely stress the world's vaccine-making capacity, especially since the poultry industry would probably be crippled in a pandemic. In addition, work with live H5N1 virus is dangerous and should only be performed in special laboratories.

As an alternative to live influenza viruses, VLPs are made by introducing three separate viral genes into baculoviruses, which only infect insect cells. Baculovirus-infected insect cells are then grown in culture, in a similar fashion to bacteria or yeast, and produce the VLPs. The VLPs appear to have a structure like influenza viruses under an electron microscope but lack the ability to replicate or to cause influenza.

Compans and first author Sang-Moo Kang, PhD, Emory assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, demonstrated the ability of VLPs to stimulate antibody production in mice. In collaboration with a team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led by Ruben Donis, PhD, they showed that the mice immunized with VLPs could resist an otherwise lethal dose of H5N1 virus isolated from Vietnam.

The mice's immunity, including the levels of antibodies that protected their respiratory systems, stayed stable for over six months.

In mice, VLPs appear to deliver several times more potency per microgram than other types of vaccines, such as the chemically inactivated subunit viral vaccine currently used in the United States or a single viral protein produced in baculovirus.

"This extra potency is important because the current egg-grown vaccines require relatively high doses to be effective for most people, and in a pandemic demand might run up against production capacity. VLPs could offer more bang for the buck," Compans says.

Some next steps in the development of the vaccine are to find out if it can also protect against infection by mutant forms of the virus that arise frequently in birds, he says. Also, the vaccine will be evaluated in other animal species, in which influenza causes disease symptoms similar to those seen in humans.

Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.emory.edu
http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004667

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>