Novel Influenza Vaccine
Walter Gerhard and Laszlo Otvos
There is a critical unmet need for new influenza vaccines that are easily produced and that induce protective immunity which is broadly cross-reactive with current and future epidemic virus strains. The external M2 protein (M2e) is highly conserved among human influenza type A viruses and M2e-specific antibodies have the potential to provide broad protective immunity across influenza A strains. However, the natural M2 protein is poorly immunogenic so that individuals exposed to influenza virus or immunized with current vaccines do not develop these broadly-protective antibodies.
Wistar researchers have developed novel multiple antigenic peptide constructs (MAPs) that induce M2e-specific antibodies in vivo. These MAPs consist of M2e and helper T cell determinants that are covalently linked. Mice immunized intranasally with MAPs exhibited significant production of M2e-specific antibodies as well as decreased morbidity after influenza virus infection. These MAPs, administered independently or in conjunction with whole virus, may be useful for developing an effective broadly protective influenza vaccine.
Any vaccine that produces broad immunity against influenza A would be a significant improvement over the current strain-specific vaccines that must be produced anew each year. Additionally, this vaccine would be produced synthetically, which is a major improvement over the current methods of growing influenza vaccine in fertilized eggs.
This technology is available for exclusive license.
Mozdzanowska, et al., Vaccine, 21, 2616-2626. 2003.