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    Researchers develop universal flu vaccine

    8 January 2020

    A vaccine that combines two major influenza proteins is effective in providing long-lasting protection against the influenza virus, showing promise as a universal flu vaccine, according to a new study by the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.

    The double-layered nanoparticle vaccine contains the influenza virus proteins matrix protein 2 ectodomain (M2e) and neuraminidase (NA). During the study, in which mice were immunised with the nanoparticle vaccine before being exposed to influenza virus, it was found that they were subsequently protected against six different strains of the virus.

    The findings, which suggest this unique vaccine combination has potential as a universal influenza vaccine or component of such vaccines, have been published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

    Ye Wang, the study’s first author, said: “This nanoparticle antigen combination conferred mice with strong cross protection. It can protect mice from different strains of influenza virus. Each season, we have different flu strains that affect us. By using this approach, we hope this nanoparticle vaccine can protect humans from different strains of influenza virus.”

    Seasonal flu vaccines are insufficient to prevent influenza outbreaks, and developing a universal influenza vaccine is the ideal strategy for eliminating public health threats of influenza epidemics and pandemics. A universal influenza vaccine would eliminate the need for vaccinations each season and would offer universal protection against all influenza strains.

    In the study, mice were exposed to one of six influenza virus strains after receiving the nanoparticle vaccine by intramuscular injection. The vaccine proved to have long-lasting immune protection, which was unchanged against viral challenges up to four months after immunisations.