Flu News Friday 12/10/21

Read the latest on influenza vaccines in this week’s roundup.

The Latest in Influenza Vaccines

1. Unique features of a recombinant haemagglutinin influenza vaccine that influence vaccine performance                                                          Arunachamal et al., NPJ Vaccines, December 2, 2021

Preparedness against highly pathogenic viruses remains a global priority. In this review, researchers explore the advantages of a recombinant influenza vaccine tetravalent (RIV4) absent of of egg proteins, viral RNA or process impurities that are typically found in conventional vaccines. The study of RIV4 structural features and purity of the recombinant HA vaccine may provide a number of benefits in vaccine performance which can be extended to other viral influenza targets.

2. IFP35 as a promising biomarker and therapeutic target for the syndromes induced by SARS-CoV-2 or influenza virus                                                            Yu et al., Cell Reports December 3, 2021

This study demonstrates whether or not interferon-induced protein 35 (IFP35) plays an important role in the cytokine storm induced by SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus infections. Upon using a mouse model and cell assays, researchers evaluated serum levels of IFP35 in SARS-CoV-2 patients correlates with the severity of the syndrome and determine whether IFP35 is released by lung epithelial cells and macrophage after SARS-CoV-2 or influenza virus infection. In addition, this study attempts to show that administration of neutralizing antibody against IFP35 may considerably reduce lung injuries, and thus the mortality rate of mice exposed to viral infection.

3. Engineered Nanoparticulate Vaccines to Combat Recurring and Pandemic Influenza Threats                                                                               Dong et al., Wiley Advanced NanoBiomed Research, December 7, 2021

Current seasonal influenza vaccines provide limited protection against drifted circulating strains and no protection against influenza pandemics. Next-generation influenza vaccines using nanotechnology may play a critical role in the development of such novel vaccines. Using engineered nanoparticles, scientists can incorporate multiple advantageous properties into the same nanoparticulate platforms to improve vaccine potency and breadth. This review highlights how nanoparticle vaccine technology can contribute to preventing future influenza pandemics.

4. We’re Getting Close to ‘Universal’ Vaccines. It Hasn’t Been Easy              Kim Tingley, The New York Times, December 8, 2021

The New York Times discusses the potential of universal influenza vaccines, a goal scientists have worked towards for decades. However, the advancement of vaccine technology in response to COVID-19 and the continued challenge of emerging variants has refocused attention on developing broadly protective, longer-lasting vaccines.

5. Human influenza virus challenge identifies cellular correlates of protection for oral vaccination                                                                   Mcllwain et al., Cell Host & Microbe December 8, 2021

Developing new influenza vaccines with improved performance and easier administration routes hinges on defining correlates of protection. With no vaccine-elicited cellular correlates of protection for influenza in humans identified, researchers conduct a phase-2 double-blind randomized placebo and active (inactivated influenza vaccine) controlled study to determine whether a human-adenovirus-5-based oral influenza vaccine tablet (VXA-A1.1) can protect from H1N1 virus challenge in humans.

6. Enhanced isolation of influenza viruses in qualified cells improves the probability of well-matched vaccines                                                           Peck et al., npj | Vaccines, December 9, 2021

In this study, researchers compared isolation rates, growth characteristics, genetic stability and antigenicity of cell and egg candidate vaccine viruses derived from the same influenza-positive human respiratory samples. Researchers find that influenza virus isolation rates in MDCK33016PF cells that fully cell-based influenza vaccines could improve choice, match and potentially effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccines compared to egg-based vaccines.

7. Antigenicity and immunogenicity of HA2 and M2e influenza virus antigens conjugated to norovirus-like, VP1 capsid-based particles by the SpyTag/SpyCatcher technology                                                              Heinimäkia et al., Virology, January 22, 2022

Virus-like particles (VLPs) modified through different molecular technologies are employed as delivery vehicles or platforms for heterologous antigen display. Researchers created a norovirus (NoV) VLP platform comprising of two influenza antigens. This study examined potential interference of the conjugation with induction of antibodies against conjugated M2e peptide, HA2, and NoV VLP carrier.  Researchers also evaluated whether HA2-elicited antibodies would neutralize the homologous influenza virus in vitro and if NoV VLPs could be simultaneously used as a platform to deliver foreign antigens for possible novel influenza targets.

8. Developing a Live Probiotic Vaccine Based on the Enterococcus faecium L3 Strain Expressing Influenza Neuraminidase                                              Desheva et al., MDPI Microorganisms, November 27, 2021

Probiotic microorganisms are currently considered a promising platform for the development of recombinant vaccines expressing foreign antigens. In this study, researchers generated and evaluated live mucosal recombinant vaccine by integrating genes encoding influenza virus neuraminidase (NA) of the N2 subtype into the DNA of the probiotic strain, Enterococcus faecium L3 (L3). The objective of the study was to create a live vaccine based on a biologically active strain of E. faecium L3 in hopes that upon evaluation, antibodies against NA would be capable of providing heterosubtypic protection.

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