Medicago H5N1 vaccine successful in preclinical study

Medicago, Inc., recently announced positive results from an independent preclinical study on the cross-protection effects of the company's H5N1 virus-like particle vaccine.

The study was conducted under the Animal Models of Infectious Disease Program of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The results showed that a single intramuscular dose of the vaccine without an adjuvant can protect against other strains of H5N1 or strains of a different subtype such as H2N2.

The results of the study also suggest that the H5N1 VLP vaccine may have induced mucosal immunity in the lungs.

Medicago is pleased with the outcome of the trials and said that the vaccine can provide safe and effective protection against multiple influenza strains.

"I believe this is the first demonstration that a single intramuscular, non-adjuvanted dose of an H5N1 vaccine can protect against both a separate H5N1 strain and an H2N2 strain," Dr. Bart Tarbet, the University of Utah professor who led the study, said. "The cross-protection provided by the H5N1 VLP vaccine makes it an attractive vaccine candidate for protection in a pandemic influenza outbreak."

Medicago President and CEO Andy Sheldon was effusive about the vaccine's potential.

"Our VLP vaccines may provide more extensive protection than any other influenza vaccine," Sheldon said. "Cross-protection would be vital in addressing a potential pandemic as influenza strains often mutate, rendering stockpiled vaccines ineffective. With our ability to rapidly produce a vaccine in less than a month from the identification of a flu strain, we are confident that our technology can play a key role in worldwide pandemic protection."

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