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Flu News Friday, 2/25/2022

Read the latest on influenza vaccines and upcoming funding opportunities in this week’s roundup.

February 2022

With love and tears: My first and last memories of Dr. Paul Farmer -February 22, 2022

Shamasunder, S. (2022, February 22). With Love and tears: My first and last memories of Dr. Paul Farmer. NPR.

Dr. Paul Farmer, global health luminary and co-founder of Partners in Health, saved countless lives through his dedication to healthcare accessibility. Following his recent passing, many friends, students and organizations have spoken of his invaluable perspective and have vowed to continue his legacy. To remember a man who has helped so many, read how Dr. Paul Farmer’s compassion changed lives in a personal account written by Dr. Sriram Shamasunder.

Photo by John Ra for Partners in Health

Read the full article here
February 2022

Evolutionary conservation and positive selection of Influenza A Nucleoprotein CTL epitopes for universal vaccination: a proof-of-concept

McGee, M. C., & Huang, W. (2022). Evolutionary conservation and positive selection of influenza A nucleoprotein CTL epitopes for universal vaccination: A proof‐of‐concept. Journal of Medical Virology.

Proof-of-concept research has identified a functional cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope that could provide broad protection across Influenza A virus subtypes. CTL responses remove infected cells and suppress viral replication when antibodies fail to adequately respond to a virus. In pursuit of universal vaccines for influenza, researchers have found an Influenza A nucleoprotein (NP) region that is highly conserved among different subtypes, historically positively selected and that functionally elicits NP-specific CTL responses. Read more to learn why these conserved epitopes should be explored as a strategy to elicit universal influenza immunity.

Read the full article here
February 2022

News Feature: Researchers getting closer to a “universal” flu vaccine

Beans, C. (2022). News feature: Researchers getting closer to a “universal” flu vaccine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(5).

Influenza researchers around the world heeded the call when SARS-CoV-2 first emerged, applying decades of respiratory pathogen and vaccine knowledge to the pursuit of vaccines for COVID-19. As a universal influenza vaccine (UIV) remains the ultimate goal, flu vaccinologists are continuing on their quest for the “holy grail” vaccine, but now with strategies and learnings gleaned from COVID-19 vaccine development. Addressing the scientific challenges still impeding UIV development from many different angles, some researchers have capitalized on advancements in mRNA and adenoviral platforms, while others work to improve immune responses to the hemagglutinin stalk or head. A recent review summarizes the work of Florian Krammer, Lynda Coughlan, Norbert Pardi, and more here.

Read the full article here

Funding Opportunities & Announcements

  • Notice of Special Interest: Advancing Research Needed to Develop a Universal Influenza Vaccine (Link) [Research Project]                                  NIAID / February 5, 2022 / January 8, 2025

  • CEIRR Pilot Research (Link) [Contract]                                                          CEIRR/ Currently Open / April 5, 2022

  • NOMIS & Science Young Explorer Award (Link) [Grant]                          NOMIS & Science / Currently Open / May 15, 2022

  • Infections and immunity programme (Link) [Grant]                            Medical Research Council / February 16, 2022 / May 11, 2022