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Flu News Friday 12/3/21

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

Rendition of flu virus

The Latest in Influenza Vaccines

1. Heterologous Humoral Immunity to Human and Zoonotic Coronaviruses: Aiming for the Achilles Heel 
Ng et al., Seminars in Immunology, October 25, 2021

The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 suggests humans lack effective immunity against coronavirus infection and highlights the need for deeper understanding of heterologous immunity for emerging respiratory viruses. In this article, researchers review substantial evidence of cross-reactive B cell memory elicited by human coronaviruses (HCoVs) and the extent to which it may diversify the adaptive immune responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Finally, this analysis seeks provide potential contribution to pathogenicity, establish the limits of protection against complex respiratory viruses and necessitates targeted assay development.

2. Lipid Nanoparticles Enhance the Efficacy of mRNA and Protein Subunit Vaccines by Inducing Robust T Follicular Helper Cell and Humoral Responses 
Alameh et al., Immunity (Cell Press), November 4, 2021

The well-documented use of adjuvants is critical for improving quality and magnitude of adaptive immune responses to vaccination. In this study, researchers attempt to demonstrate whether lipid nanoparticle (LNP)–encapsulated nucleoside–formulation has intrinsic adjuvant activity that promotes induction of responses associated with durable and protective antibodies in mice. The demonstration of a versatile adjuvant would likely become a candidate for next-generation vaccine platforms.

3. Immune Imprinting and SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Design 
Wheatley et al., Trends in Immunology (CellPress), November 2021

Immune imprinting in influenza virus infection has been widely studied in influenza A virus (IAV) infections. Similar to antigenically drifted IAV, SARS-CoV-2 neutralization escape variants have only a few key mutations at neutralization epitopes compared with the ancestral strain. In this article, researchers hypothesize whether vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 variants primarily boost ‘imprinted’ immune responses to conserved regions of the Spike protein to the detriment of new neutralizing responses to antigenically altered sites within new variants, and argues whether the ‘updated strain’ vaccine strategy may yield partial efficacy against new variants.

4. RNA Delivery with a Human Virus-Like Particle 
Anna Gutkin, Daniel Rosenblum and Dan Peer, Nature Biotechnology, November 12, 2021

Lipid Nanoparticles are currently the most widely used RNA delivery method. Made from natural and synthetic amino ionizible lipids, lipid nanoparticles have gained remarkable attention after of the success of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines. However, some researchers remain uncertain about their safety and efficacy for repeated dosing and crossing biological barriers to target specific cell types. This article illustrates the advantages in furthering mRNA delivery systems for more effective, future vaccines.

5. Human Influenza Virus Challenge Identifies Cellular Correlates of Protection for Oral Vaccination 
Mcllwain et al., Cell Host & Microbe, November 15, 2021

Developing influenza vaccines with greater and broader efficacy and easier administration requires clear insights into correlates of protection. McIlwain & Chen et al. use mass cytometry to identify cellular immune responses elicited by an oral influenza vaccine tablet (VXA-A1.1) that correlate with protection from influenza virus challenge in humans.

6. Recombinant Protein Containing Influenza Viral Conserved Epitopes and Superantigen Induces Broad-Spectrum Protection 
Li et al., eLifeSciences, November 16, 2021

Researchers pose a new concept for a universal influenza vaccine by fusing T cell epitopes, B cell epitopes, and superantigen. Scientists constructed a recombination protein, NMHC, as a pilot study to develop a novel universal influenza vaccine. NMHC consists of two domains, an NMH domain as a universal immunogen and an SEC2 domain as an adjuvant-like molecular chaperone, fused by a flexible peptide linker. Furthermore, the study of humoral immune responses mediated by NMHC vaccination could bind to and neutralize different influenza viruses with a high affinity and effectively prevent virus replication in target cells.

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