CIDRAP report highlights need for novel influenza vaccine

A recent report by a team of University of Minnesota researchers details the status of currently available influenza vaccines.

Michael Osterholm and his colleagues at the university's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy found that overconfidence in the currently available products acted as a barrier to advancements in technology. The team suggests that an ideal vaccine would universally protect against all influenza strains, but at a minimum, the model vaccine would protect against H1, H2, H3, H5 and H9 viruses, Clinicians' Biosecurity News reports.

According to the study, efficacy for the trivalent influenza vaccine for adults aged 18 to 65 years was a pooled estimate of 59 percent. The live attenuated vaccine given to children between the ages of six months and seven years had a pooled estimate of 83 percent efficacy. The monovalent vaccine developed against pandemic H1N1 had an estimated 69 percent efficacy. Evidence for patients above the age of 65 was either absent or inconclusive.

The researchers determined that current research and regulations are geared toward small changes in current vaccines instead of developing game changing vaccines that last longer and provide broad protection. Osterholm and his team said that such vaccines would be effective in at-risk populations, be inexpensive to manufacture, distribute and administer, and have a low incidence of adverse events.

The report concludes that the federal government should declare the development of the new vaccines a national priority and provide the leadership and resources necessary to support their development, Clinicians' Biosecurity News reports.