Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Universal flu vaccine clinical trials show promise

Date:
June 8, 2011
Source:
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Summary:
A universal influenza vaccine targeting a protein common to all strains of influenza A has safely produced an immune response in humans. If proven effective, the vaccine could eliminate the practice of creating a new flu vaccine annually to match predicted strains, with major implications for global health.

A universal influenza vaccine targeting a protein common to all strains of influenza A has safely produced an immune response in humans. If proven effective, the vaccine could eliminate the practice of creating a new flu vaccine annually to match predicted strains, with major implications for global health.

The results of the clinical trials, led by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in collaboration with biotechnology company VaxInnate and funded by $9.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were published online in the journal Vaccine.

The vaccine candidate, VAX102, targets a protein known as M2e, found on the surface of the influenza A virus, that has remained relatively unchanged over the last century. VAX102 consists of 4 copies of M2e fused to the protein flagellin, a TLR5 ligand used as an adjuvant. The M2e antigen had been completely unchanged from 1918 until the recent pandemic, making it of interest to researchers searching for a target for the immune response to influenza that would be stable over many seasons.

Unlike traditional flu vaccines, which target antigens that change continuously, the prototype VAX102 represents a vaccine that would not require annual updates, an important barrier to influenza prevention throughout the world. The technology used to produce the candidate vaccine would eliminate many of the limitations of current influenza vaccines, including inefficiencies related to manufacturing -- such as limited production capability and the inability to change the target antigen should the vaccine not match the circulating strains.

"As we saw in the 2009 influenza pandemic, there is a great public and global health need for a rapid, scalable model for vaccine production," said lead author Christine B. Turley, M.D., Vice Chair for Clinical Services, Department of Pediatrics and a member of UTMB's Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. "If ultimately proven effective, VAX102 will meet this need and offer a completely new approach to global flu prevention and control."

Two studies, conducted at UTMB and Johnson County Clin-Trials in Lenexa, Kansas, assessed the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity -- the induced immune response -- of VAX102.

Healthy adults ages 18-49 were randomly assigned to receive two doses of either vaccine or placebo. The two studies established the dose range for further study. Doses ranging from 0.03 to 10 micrograms were studied. Individuals at the highest doses had more systemic reactions; doses of 1 microgram or less were safe. All vaccinated subjects showed some degree of antibody response, with a more than four-fold increase noted in all groups by 14 days after the second dose of vaccine.

An important next step will be studies to determine the degree to which the vaccine may be effective against influenza infection. Future studies would also investigate the durability of the antibody response and more closely assess cytokine responses -- proteins released as part of the immune response -- in an effort to better understand, predict and potentially prevent the adverse reactions noted at highest doses.

Pending results of future trials, VAX102 could be used as a stand-alone vaccine to prevent influenza A infection. Other possible strategies include use in conjunction with vaccines that target traditional influenza antigens, as a part of an approach to increase efficacy when infection occurs with mismatched strains.

VAX102 efficacy would have major global health implications, as worldwide annual influenza vaccination is not currently available due to limitations of licensed vaccines and international immunization infrastructure.

According to Turley, an influenza vaccine that can be produced rapidly and with great economies of scale, such as VAX102 through simple bacterial fermentation, allows for an entirely new approach to international influenza control. Further, because the M2e-based vaccine would not require annual updates, it could be useful to offer protection over multiple influenza seasons.

Finally, VAX102 holds promise as an improved vaccine for the elderly. "Our immune response deteriorates with age," said Turley. "Currently, the elderly aren't afforded as much protection from the flu vaccine as younger individuals. Rather than giving the elderly higher doses of a vaccine each year, VAX102 could afford long-term protection or be used as a booster strategy, maximizing immune memory."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christine B. Turley, Richard E. Rupp, Casey Johnson, David N. Taylor, Julie Wolfson, Lynda Tussey, Uma Kavita, Lawrence Stanberry, Alan Shaw. Safety and immunogenicity of a recombinant M2e–flagellin influenza vaccine (STF2.4xM2e) in healthy adults. Vaccine, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.05.041

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Universal flu vaccine clinical trials show promise." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607171834.htm>.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. (2011, June 8). Universal flu vaccine clinical trials show promise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607171834.htm
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Universal flu vaccine clinical trials show promise." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607171834.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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