Universal influenza vaccine comes closer to reality

April 28th, 2009 - 12:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr 28 (ANI): Researchers from Saint Louis University have come a step closer to developing universal flu vaccine that would offer protection against different strains of influenza.

Currently drug companies manufacture a different flu vaccine each year to match the strains of influenza that researchers predict will circulate.

Adding a universal influenza vaccine to a seasonal vaccine would help improve protection against strains of influenza as they change each year.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Belshe, director of the Saint Louis University Centre for Vaccine Development studied a vaccine made with proteins from strains of influenza viruses A and B.

“Novel vaccines, capable of inducing long-lasting, broad immunity against divergent strains, including potential pandemic viruses, are highly desirable,” said Belshe.

“This is a significant first step in developing a universal vaccine to help protect against pandemic influenza,” he added.

During the study, 377 healthy adults received three injections of a universal influenza vaccine, known as Bivalent Influenza Peptide Conjugate Vaccine (BIPCV), over a six-month period.

The researchers found that a low dose of the vaccine is well tolerated and safe.

Belshe said low dose vaccine evoked an immune response - high antibody titers - that is similar to levels associated with protecting small animals infected with influenza from serious disease and death. However, more testing is needed.

The findings were presented at the National Foundation for Infectious Disease Conference for Vaccine Research in Baltimore. (ANI)

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