Preventing a Flu Pandemic With Just a Single Dose

Article

Researchers recently found that a single dose of a vaccine being developed by Medicago, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, could protect against not only the avian influenza (H5N1) strain it was designed for, but also another H5N1 strain and a strain of a different flu subtype, called H2N2.

This phenomenon, known as cross-protection, is highly desirable in an influenza vaccine, especially when the threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak looms. Thats because influenza strains often mutate, rendering stockpiled vaccines ineffective. Medicago has a special advantage in this regard, because the company can rapidly produce a vaccine in less than a month after the identification of a flu strain. This speed results from Medicagos use of entities known as virus-like particles (VLPs) to create its vaccines. Medicago is a worldwide leader in the development of VLP vaccines using a transient expression system, which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in plants. The accelerated production time frame gives the potential to vaccinate the general public before the first wave of a pandemic.

In the study, researchers gave mice a single dose of Medicagos H5N1 VLP vaccine formulated for the Indonesia H5N1 Influenza virus. After 28 days, the mice were given a lethal dose of either the Vietnam H5N1 strain or an H2N2 Influenza virus strain that caused a pandemic in humans in the late 1950s. The study found Medicagos vaccine protected 100 percent of mice from the Vietnam strain and 70 percent of mice from the H2N2 strain. In the past, the company has completed Phase I and Phase II human clinical trials for its vaccine for the Indonesia H5N1 Influenza virus, demonstrating that that vaccine produced a solid immune response and was safe and well tolerated.

Related Videos
Anne Meneghetti, MD, speaking with Infection Control Today
Patient Safety: Infection Control Today's Trending Topic for March
Infection Control Today® (ICT®) talks with John Kimsey, vice president of processing optimization and customer success for Steris.
Picture at AORN’s International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024
Infection Control Today and Contagion are collaborating for Rare Disease Month.
Rare Disease Month: An Infection Control Today® and Contagion® collaboration.
Vaccine conspiracy theory vector illustration word cloud  (Adobe Stock 460719898 by Colored Lights)
Rare Disease Month: An Infection Control Today® and Contagion® collaboration.
Infection Control Today Topic of the Month: Mental Health
Related Content