Study finds new virus-like particle vaccine protects against multiple flu strains
Finding a “universal” flu vaccine is a top priority of global public health because of the large rates of death and illness every year from seasonal influenza. Health experts are also concerned about the potentially devastating outcomes of an influenza strain that becomes pandemic.
In light of this, the NIAID team developed a way to provoke protective immunity in mice against a variety of influenza viruses.
Rather than trying to predict which strains may cause humans to become sick and then create vaccines to match the strains, the researchers made a vaccine cocktail. The vaccine contains four out of the 16 various subtypes of flu virus protein known as hemagglutinin (H). Two of them, H3 and H1, are usually in seasonal influenza. The remaining two, H5 and H7, are taken from the avian influenza viruses that are known to infect humans. The vaccine also contains non-infectious VLPs that are designed to generate a response from the immune system without causing or replicating the illness.