The current influenza vaccines must be re-designed each year and the shot administered annually to maintain protection. The team responsible for this new research hopes it can lead to a single-use flu shot
West Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/09/2018 -- According to a recent issue of Vaccine (1), a team of UK based researchers have genetically modified the Hepatitis B virus shell to contain inserts from influenza virus. The resulting "virus-like particle" is not a live virus, but a completely safe and inert product which can be used as a new universal vaccine against influenza infection.
This year the world is facing one of the worst influenza seasons in recent times (2). Yet the current influenza vaccine has once again failed to deliver adequate protection, with some sources reporting only 10% efficacy against the predominant strain (3). Present influenza vaccines often fall short of expectations as they are rendered obsolete by mutations in the flu virus which change their surface, resulting in escape from recognition by the immune system. However, the new virus-like particle created by iQur biotech contains conserved parts of the influenza virus which have not mutated since the 1940's, when the first flu vaccine was made.
In the study the new vaccine candidate showed 100% protection in mice against the 2009 swine flu pandemic strain, and encouragingly the same vaccine was also protective against a second flu strain dating all the way back to 1934. "Our aim is to develop the next generation of influenza vaccines which can provide lifelong immunity to flu epidemics and pandemics"- Alex Ramirez, Head of Discovery at iQur.
The current influenza vaccines must be re-designed each year and the shot administered annually to maintain protection. The team responsible for the research hopes it can lead to a single-use flu shot which can protect against any flu virus, removing influenza infection from the general population in a similar way to which poliovirus has been largely eradicated.
iQur is at the forefront of vaccine research and development, using tandem core technology to create novel vaccines, currently being developed for influenza, malaria, human cytomegalovirus, dengue fever and hepatitis C.