The nanoparticle vaccine has been shown to block a number of influenza strains in the study

A new vaccine formulated with nanoparticles has protected animal models from various seasonal and pandemic strains of influenza.

Influenza vaccine

Researchers have developed experimental influenza vaccines that have protected animals from a wide range of seasonal and pandemic influenza strains in preclinical studies. Scientists say that, if proven to be safe and effective, these next-generation flu vaccines can replace current seasonal options by providing protection against many more species that current vaccines do not adequately cover. The new vaccine is currently advancing towards clinical trials.

The study was conducted at the University of Washington School of Medicine (UW) in the U.S. and the Vaccine Research Center, part of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

According to researchers, available flu vaccines, which need to be taken seasonally, often fail to protect against many circulating flu strains that cause disease and the threat of another flu pandemic.

“Most flu injections available today are tetravalent, meaning they are made from four different strains of flu. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) bets on which four strains will be the most prevalent, but those predictions may be more or less accurate. That’s why we often end up with “uncoordinated” flu vaccinations that are still useful, but only partially effective, “said lead author Daniel Ellis of UW School of Medicine.

Nanoparticle vaccine

Review of vaccines against nanoparticles containing proteins from different strains of influenza [credit: UW Medicine Institute for Protein Design].

To create improved flu vaccines, the team provided hemagglutinin proteins from four different flu viruses for custom protein nanoparticles. This approach provided an unprecedented level of control over the molecular configuration of the resulting vaccine and provided an improved immune response compared to conventional influenza vaccines.

The researchers found that the new nanoparticle vaccines, which contain the same four hemagglutinin proteins of commercially available quadrivalent influenza vaccines, elicited neutralizing antibody responses to vaccine-matched strains that were equivalent to or superior to commercial vaccines in mice and mice. human primates. Nanoparticle vaccines – but not commercial ones – have also induced reactions of protective antibodies to viruses not contained in the vaccine formulation. These include the H5N1 and H7N9 bird flu viruses, which are considered pandemic threats.

“The reactions that our vaccine gives against viruses that match strains are really strong, and the extra coverage we’ve seen against mismatched strains could reduce the risk of bad flu season,” Ellis said.

The results of the study were published in Nature.