A universal flu vaccine that could prevent a potential influenza pandemic has been a holy grail for epidemiologists around the world ever since the first flu vaccines were developed in 1938.
Now, an international team of researchers from the University of Michigan, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and other institutions believe they could bring the scientific community a step closer to developing one after proving that targeting a specific area of the flu virus does protect humans.
“Our research is the first to demonstrate that scientists are right in attempting to develop antibodies that target this specific location as a novel universal influenza virus vaccine candidate,” said Dr. Aubree Gordon, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “This study addresses an important gap and provides information to support the further development of novel influenza virus vaccines.”
Co-author Dr. Florian Krammer, professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where the analysis of the data took place, said the study shows that antibodies that target the conserved stalk can provide protection from natural infection with H1N1 virus.
“While there are caveats and further studies needed, this is good news for the development of stalk-based universal influenza virus vaccines,” he said. “It seems we are on the right track.”Friday Letter Submission