Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A flu vaccine that lasts?

Date:
December 6, 2010
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
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.

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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. GJ Nabel and AS Fauci. Induction of unnatural immunity: Prospects for a broadly protective universal influenza vaccine. Nature Medicine, 16, 1389-1391 (6 December 2010) DOI: 10.1038/nm1210-1389

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "A flu vaccine that lasts?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206161850.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2010, December 6). A flu vaccine that lasts?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206161850.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "A flu vaccine that lasts?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206161850.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins