DNA vaccine made H5N1 vaccine more effective

According to research by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a vaccine for H5N1 avian influenza was more effective in patients who had previously received a DNA vaccine.
The DNA vaccine, which expressed a gene for an H1N1 protein, was given to subjects in the study 24 weeks before they received an H5N1 booster vaccine. Those who received the DNA primer produced higher levels of antibodies protective against a region of the protein hemagglutinin, Third Age reports.
In some of the patients who received the primer, the vaccine regimen also caused the production of antibodies that neutralized the HA stem, a region that is common to strains of flu virus from year to year.
"The results of these studies demonstrate an important proof of concept, in that it is possible to elicit broadly neutralizing influenza antibodies in humans through vaccination," Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of the NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, said, according to Third Age. "These findings mark an early but significant milestone on the pathway to a universal influenza vaccine that provides protection against multiple virus strains."
Of the 26 volunteers who received the vaccines 24 weeks apart, 21 produced antibodies to protect them from H5N1 that were four times higher than those in volunteers who received two doses of inactivated H5N1 virus vaccine. Of those who received the two vaccines four weeks apart, only four out of 15 produced protective antibodies.
The findings were published online in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases on Tuesday.

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