Scientists seek to improve flu vaccine

Scientists seek to improve flu vaccine.
Scientists seek to improve flu vaccine. | Courtesy of
Scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently reported that they have created a method that would make the nasal spray flu vaccine more effective for people both under two years old and over 49 years old.

Neither of these two age groups are approved for the nasal spray flu vaccine.

"We think we can use our molecular, rational design approaches to make a better flu vaccine for people who really need it," Andrew Pekosz, Ph.D., study leader and associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We can do it in a sophisticated and accurate way, not in a blind manner, which is how these vaccines are usually developed."

The researchers have studied a flu virus that has weakened in human nasal and sinus cavity cells as their basis for the vaccine. The scientists have stated that the flu virus within the nasal spray vaccine can be strengthened for elderly people or weakened for younger people. This will allow the vaccine to provoke an adequate immune response from people in a variety of age groups.

"We don't have a really good effective vaccine in the elderly," Pekosz said. "Even the injectable version doesn't work as well in that population. And they're the ones who need it the most. We hope our research can get us closer to having effective flu vaccines for any age."

Further details are available in Vaccine, a journal published online.

Organizations in this Story

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

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