Scientists at the University of Georgia have evaluated the performance of a universal flu vaccine on young and old mice.
Modern influenza vaccinations are based on strain-specific immunity to hemagglutinin, a highly variable immune defense target.
An annual flu shot is recommended, but the efficacy of the seasonal vaccine is unpredictable and can be below 20 percent because of constant changes in the virus. Thus, influenza remains a high risk to human health worldwide.
Researchers developed a single universal influenza vaccine with key cross-protective, less variable parts of influenza A and B viruses: protein subtypes that are prime targets for antiviral drugs, and the universally conserved ectodomain protein.
Mice vaccinated with immunostimulatory virus-like particles became protected against seasonal variants of influenza A (H1N1, H5N1, H3N2, H9N2, and H7N9) and B (Yamagata and Victoria lines).
This work provides important information about a universal flu vaccine that induces broad immunity to influenza A and B variants in young and old people. The next trial is planned with human volunteers.
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