mBio Breakthrough against numerous Influenza Strains?
"The reason researchers change the vaccine every year is that they want to specifically match the vaccine to the particular viruses that are circulating, such as H1N1. If the vaccine is just a little bit different to the target virus, it is not expected to offer much protection," said principal investigator of the study Jeffery Taubenberger, MD, PhD, Chief of Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "What we have done is design a strategy where you don't have to think about matching the vaccine antigen to the virus at all."
In the new study, researchers at the NIAID used a virus-like particle vaccine cocktail that expressed a handful of different subtypes of a key surface protein of the influenza virus: hemagglutinin H1, H3, H5 and H7. The researchers picked the H1 and H3 subtypes because they have been the major cause of human seasonal flu outbreaks since 1918. They chose the H5 and H7 subtypes because they have been the cause of recent bird flu outbreaks and have pandemic potential. This selection also provided a broad representation of hemagglutinins across the phylogenetic tree.
In a series of experiments, the researchers found that 95% of mice vaccinated with the investigational cocktail were protected against a lethal challenge with eight different influenza strains expressing seven different influenza A subtypes, compared to only 5% of mice who received mock vaccinations.