Synthetic flu vaccine can be delivered as nasal spray

A team of scientists in Adelaide, South Australia, has developed a new synthetic flu vaccine that is delivered as a nasal spray and may be effective against multiple strains of influenza, including strains A and B.

Using specific peptides delivered to the noses of mice, the team of scientists at the University of Adelaide triggered an immune response to both influenza A and B. The team believes the vaccine could end the need for seasonal flu jabs that must be reformulated each year, Today Online reports.

“Current flu vaccines rely on health authorities being able to predict what the forthcoming viral strain is going to be, and reformulating the vaccines each year accordingly,” the report says, according to IBN Live. “This is extremely time consuming, labor intensive and expensive, and it’s something that a universal vaccine could overcome.”

The test vaccine gave the mice 100 percent protection against a lab strain of H3N2 and 20 percent protection against highly pathogenic H5N1. This is consistent with protection levels achieved with anti-influenza drugs that are commercially available.

“This is a positive response and one that shows promise for further testing both in laboratory and clinical settings,” Dr. Darren Miller, the project's lead scientist, said, according to IBN Live. “It’s non-invasive and would be a preferred option for people afraid of needles. This vaccine would also reduce the allergy risk for many patients – because current flu vaccines are grown in eggs, those who’re hypersensitive to eggs can’t be vaccinated.”