December 18, 2012
Researchers Make Universal One-Time Influenza Vaccine
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The team found a way to make the one-time vaccine by using recombinant genetic engineering technology that does not use seasonal virus.
The new vaccine uses a virus' small fragment that does not vary among the different strains of flu viruses.
By using the fragment and generating particles that mimic a virus, the immune system can learn to recognize any type of flu virus and attack the pathogen.
“We can now design a vaccine that makes it easier to induce a good immune system response to recognize a pathogen, regardless of how the surface proteins of the virus change,” Associate Professor Sang-Moo Kang said in a statement.
He said that every year, health officials and scientists need to alter flu vaccines to match expected strains, and often shortages take place.
Kang believes a one-time vaccine could help to prevent outbreaks like the 2009 Swine Flu. “Outbreaks of pandemic can be a dangerous situation, and our current vaccination procedures are not perfect,” he added.
According to Kang, using the one-time vaccine like FluMist would be safer for people with weakened immune systems, young children and the elderly.
Researchers from Georgia State, the Emory Vaccine Center at the Emory University School of Medicine, Sungshin Women´s University in South Korea and the Animal, Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency in South Korea all participated in the project.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) helped to support the study, along with the government of South Korea.
The researcher´s paper “Virus-like particles containing multiple M2 extracellular domains confer improved cross protection against various subtypes of influenza virus,” appears in the journal Molecular Therapy, published by Nature Publishing Group.