Fraunhofer announces success in Phase 1 H1N1 vaccine tests

The Fraunhofer Center for Biotechnology in Newark, Delaware, recently announced success in a Phase I human safety and immunogenicity trial of its H1N1 influenza vaccine.

The trial, which began in September, is expected to be fully completed later this month, but Vidadi Yusibov, the executive director of Fraunhofer’s Delaware Center, has already called it a “significant milestone,” according to DelawareOnline.com.

Fraunhofer created the vaccine by inserting genes into tobacco-related plants that cause them to manufacture the proteins humans need to fight the virus. The approach is expected to quicken vaccine production from months to weeks and potentially replace current egg-based processes.

The center hopes to validate its approach and then license its technology to other companies or countries that plan to produce plant-based vaccines, DelawareOnline.com reoprts. More trials are needed before the vaccine can receive regulatory approval.

The trial was supported with funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and took place at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Clinical Trials Center.

”Preliminary results of the trial are quite promising and indicate that clinical products are possible,” Dr. James Cummings of WRAIR said, according to Benzinga.com.

In addition to its H1N1 vaccine, Fraunhofer is also testing a vaccine for H5N1, or avian influenza, and malaria.