A team of researchers from the Georgia State University Institute of Biomedical Sciences has developed a new nanoparticle vaccine able to sustainably protect the mouse from the flu virus.
Towards a universal vaccine?
The interesting thing about this new vaccine is the level of protection provided. In fact, the mice having been immunized with the nanoparticle vaccine have resisted six different layers of the influenza virus. The different combinations tested suggest that this vaccine has the potential to be a universal flu shot or at least a component of such a vaccine.
Ye Wang, at the origin of this discovery, specifies that: “This combination of nanoparticle antigens gave the mice strong protection. Our vaccine can protect mice from different strains of the flu virus. As the seasons go by, different strains of the flu virus affect us. With this new approach, we hope that our nanoparticle vaccine will be able to protect humans from different strains of influenza virus ”.
Meanwhile, other researchers are working on a vaccine that could counter HIV. HVTN 702, Imbokodo or Mosaico, these are the names of the vaccines that have been tested in experiments, and which could be made available as early as 2021, in less than a year. These three vaccines, which are still experimental, could be important steps forward in the fight against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Neuraminidase (NA) rather than hemagglutinin (HA)
The flu stays one of the main causes of death from infection worldwide. The medical profession believes that vaccines against “seasonal flu” are insufficient to prevent epidemics of influenza. A universal vaccine has been awaited for decades. Concretely, with this vaccine, we would no longer need to be vaccinated every year.
The researchers created this new remedy from the M2e protein of the flu virus, which is found in all strains of the virus. The NA protein is also found on the surface of the flu virus. These two proteins mutated very slowly, which reinforces researchers in the idea that it should be used as a basis. The nanoparticle vaccine therefore uses the M2e protein as its nucleus and the NA is found on the surface.
Gilbert Gonzalez, co-author of the study, specifies that: “Before us, very few influenza vaccines had been designed using the NA protein. However, this protein is an increasingly important antigen for research on influenza vaccines. Previously, this protein was discarded and hemagglutinin (HA) was preferred. We realized that this protein mutates very quickly, which explains the need to be vaccinated every year ”.
This research is being conducted as part of a study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.