We’re gathering expertise and innovative thinking from globally diverse sectors to drive ambitious solutions to one of science’s — and nature’s — greatest challenges. Together, we can stop the next influenza pandemic before it starts.
See the steps we are taking to harness new thinking, scientific advances and technological capabilities in our pursuit of long-lasting and broadly cross-protective influenza vaccines.
Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group Convenes
The Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group convenes influential, out-of-the-box thinkers across scientific, medical, industry and regulatory sectors to vigorously probe a single topic each year and develop actionable recommendations. Meeting 100 years after the 1918 – 1919 influenza epidemic that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, the group focused its initial meeting on the urgent need for next-generation vaccines and Big Ideas for jump-starting the development of a universal influenza vaccine.
Influenzer Initiative Holds Call to Action with Vaccine Champions
The Influenzer Initiative, hosted by the Wellcome Trust, engages leaders in influenza and vaccine research, technology, industry, funding and policy to reimagine development of a UIV. Building on their insights, Sabin’s funding partner, Flu Lab, working with the Center for Open Science and the Public Library of Science, launches a platform to expand access to null and negative research results and encourage replication of influenza research findings.
Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group Report Issued
Following their initial meeting, the Group releases a report communicating the urgent need for a universal influenza vaccine (UIV) and putting forward bold recommendations.
Options X Conference Spotlights Sabin-Aspen Report
The 10th Options for the Control of Influenza (Options X) conference features a conversation on the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group Report, co-hosted by Flu Lab. Representatives of biotech, industry, government, academia and philanthropy probe how the report’s “Big Ideas” around scientific collaboration, data sharing and transformative funding can be incentivized and realized.
Building an Innovation Agenda for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development
The ‘Convergence Research’ paradigm combines previously unconnected knowledge and diverse methods from across the science and technology landscape, shaping novel pathways and innovative approaches to overcome longstanding and vexing societal challenges. Seeking to apply this framework to next-generation influenza vaccines, and building on recommendations of the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group, the Influenzer Initiative plans to convene a diverse and bold set of thinkers and leaders. Our ultimate goal: to stimulate the transformative intellectual and capital investment necessary to protect the world from the threat of influenza.
Capturing Lessons from COVID-19
Since the pandemic emerged, the Influenzer Initiative has embarked on a multi-pronged examination of the global response to COVID-19 as a means to inform and inspire the pursuit of universal vaccine protection against influenza. We assess changing practices and policies—across the science and technology landscape, vaccine development and regulatory science, public-private partnerships, and pandemic preparedness—and consider how beneficial changes might be sustained.
· Our Influenzers in Action series celebrates contributions to combatting COVID-19 by members of the influenza community.
· Transitioning from planned in-person engagements, we are conducting an ongoing documentary video series to capture expert insights on pandemic preparedness, vaccine development, and public health policy from outstanding researchers and industry leaders. We continue to analyze how the scientific and technological response to COVID-19 could inform and influence the pursuit of a universal influenza vaccine.
Nature Research & Scientific American Article Series
An influenza pandemic could hit the world even harder than COVID-19. This series with Nature Research Custom Media explores what it will take to develop influenza vaccines powerful enough to stop one. This public health moonshot requires global shifts in vaccine R&D and public health policy. But it could save millions of lives.
Roadmap to a Flu Free Future
Since launching in September 2021, the Influenzer Initiative has supported The Influenza Vaccines R&D Roadmap Initiative (IVR) by promoting its key messages through our video series and symposium at the Eighth ESWI Influenza Conference.
The IVR is a collaborative effort involving more than 100 stakeholders in 29 countries. Launched in September 2021, the Roadmap aims to bring unity and focus to the quest for better flu vaccines by identifying key areas for future influenza R&D and plotting their advancement, milestone by milestone, toward strategic goal. It was designed as a living document that will be updated continually over the next 10 years.
The road map was developed by a steering group comprised of representatives from CIDRAP, the Wellcome Trust, the World Health Organization, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Taskforce For Global Health, and the Global Flu Funders Consortium.
It's Time for a Next-Generation Vaccine
We’ve been lucky for the last 100 years that we haven’t had a pandemic of the magnitude of 1918. If we have one soon, it will be catastrophic, because we live in a world where viruses and bacteria travel around the globe at lightning speed.Shirley Tilghman, President Emerita of the University and Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University
To solve this enormous problem, we need to go beyond the current strategies that are being deployed and build on great advances in sciences like immunology and structural biology with new ideas from fields like computer science and physics.Bob Tepper, Co-Founder and General Partner, Third Rock Ventures, LLC
It’s absolutely essential that people from different disciplines, with different areas of expertise, come together to solve this huge problem.Penny Heaton, Chief Executive Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute
At the moment, pandemic influenza is probably near the top of every government’s risk register. We know that there will be another influenza pandemic, and that it will have a massive impact across the world.Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology, Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research, University of Oxford; Co-Founder, Vaccitech
An interdisciplinary convergent model is the most promising way to bring about significant scientific progress.Harvey Fineberg, President, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation