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FVF Ep. 4: Unlocking Influenza Pandemic Prevention

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The Science and Coordination Challenges in Influenza Vaccine Development

An excerpt from the Sabin Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group report, “Accelerating the Development of a Universal Influenza Vaccine”.

In this white paper from the report, “Accelerating the Development of a Universal Influenza Vaccine”, author Heather Youngs delivers findings from literature reviews and interviews with researchers and funders. The paper examines the R&D landscape and details areas that need additional scientific advances including;

  1. Tracking Infectious Diseases and Identifying New Pathogens
  2. Antigen Discovery
  3. Candidate Vaccine Formulation
  4. Pre-clinical Testing
  5. Clinical Trials
  6. Scale-Up of Vaccine Production
  7. Vaccine Production
Figure 2: Timeline of the 2009 influenza virus pandemic showing that, by using the conventional technologies at that time, large quantities of vaccines became available only after the peak of the viral infection. The dashed lines indicate the hypothetical time course for vaccine production from synthetic seeds and the synthetic self-amplifying mRNA system (Table 1), which might help to produce large quantities of vaccine in the future before the peak of influenza infection.


Heather Youngs, Ph.D., is a program officer and one half of the science team at the
Open Philanthropy Project. Since its inception 2 years ago, the team has recommended $120 million in grants and investments to support basic and translational science. Prior to joining Open Philanthropy, Youngs was director of the Bakar Fellows Program for faculty entrepreneurs at the University of California, Berkeley, a senior strategic advisor at the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, and an assistant professor at Michigan Technological University.