SynCon flu vaccine more effective in elderly than traditional seasonal vaccine

Inovio Pharmaceuticals recently reported the results of a phase I clinical trial showing that its synthetic influenza vaccine SynCon can provide better protection for the elderly than current vaccines.

The test demonstrated that a dose of SynCon H1N1 universal flu vaccine followed with a dose of a seasonal flu vaccine generated a 40 percent protective immune response rate in elderly subjects. Elderly subjects who received only the seasonal vaccine had a 20 percent immune response rate, according to

The elderly - those over 65 years of age - represent approximately 90 percent of influenza deaths in the United States. Their immune systems generally support a much weaker immune response to seasonal vaccines than the rest of the population. Attempts to improve the vaccine's impact on the elderly, such as higher doses and adjuvants, have not helped significantly.

Inovio called the interim data from the trial a major step in developing a more effective flu vaccine for elderly patients.

"These early results indicate the potential to significantly expand the protection of this at-risk population of elderly subjects against flu," Dr. Gary Kobinger, a lead investigator on the study said. "With limited evidence of other innovations enhancing protection against influenza, this technology could potentially lead to a breakthrough vaccine."

Inovio's President and CEO Dr. J Joseph Kim said Inovio technology can serve to enhance current treatments.

"Today's results provide evidence of the power of our DNA vaccine approach to generate protective antibodies in this vulnerable age group," Kim said. "They also show how our vaccines can increase the potency and coverage of existing therapies."