FILE PHOTO: People enter a pharmacy next to a sign promoting flu shots in New York
People enter a pharmacy next to a sign promoting flu shots in New York. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly/File
health

Researchers test mRNA technology for universal flu vaccine

13 Comments
By Nancy Lapid

An experimental vaccine provided broad protection against all 20 known influenza A and B virus subtypes in initial tests in mice and ferrets, potentially opening a pathway to a universal flu shot that might help prevent future pandemics, according to a U.S. study published on Thursday.

The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA)technology used in the COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer with BioNTech, and by Moderna. It delivers tiny lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to create replicas of so-called hemagglutinin proteins that appear on influenza virus surfaces.

A universal vaccine would not mean an end to flu seasons, but would replace the guess work that goes into developing annual shots months ahead of flu season each year.

"The idea here is to have a vaccine that will give people a baseline level of immune memory to diverse flu strains, so that there will be far less disease and death when the next flu pandemic occurs," study leader Scott Hensley of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania said in a statement.

Unlike standard flu vaccines that deliver one or two versions of hemagglutinin, the experimental vaccine includes 20 different types in the hope of getting the immune system to recognize any flu virus it might encounter in the future.

In lab experiments, vaccinated animals' immune systems recognized the hemagglutinin proteins and defended against 18 different strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. Antibody levels induced by the vaccine remained unchanged for at least four months, according to a report published in the journal Science.

The vaccine reduced signs of illness and protected from death even when the ferrets were exposed to a different type of flu not in the vaccine, the researchers said.

Moderna and Pfizer both have mRNA flu vaccines in late-stage human trials, and GSK and partner CureVac are testing an mRNA flu vaccine in an early-stage safety trial in humans. These vaccines are designed to defend against only four recently-circulating influenza strains but could theoretically be changed up each year.

The universal flu vaccine, if successful in human trials, would not necessarily prevent infection. The goal is to provide durable protection against severe disease and death, Hensley said.

Questions remain regarding how to judge efficacy and potential regulatory requirements for a vaccine against possible future viruses that are not currently circulating, Alyson Kelvin and Darryl Falzarano of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, wrote in a commentary published with the study.

While the promising results with the new vaccine "suggest a protective capacity against all subtypes of influenza viruses, we cannot be sure until clinical trials in volunteers are done," Adolfo García-Sastrem, director of the Institute for Global Health and Emerging Pathogens at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said in a statement.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
Login to comment

Brought to you by the same honest, upstanding corporations who released the safe and effective

covid jabs. What could possibly go wrong?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Yes, it could save many lives if it is safe and effective in humans. Terrible right?

Brought to you by the same honest, upstanding corporations who released the safe and effective

covid jabs. What could possibly go wrong?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Take as many as you want.

Don't coerce anybody who doesn't want it to take it.

Very simple.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The core techniques used have hundreds, if not thousands, of targets, including fighting cancers. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28101688/ Trials against pancreatic cancer are promising.

They've already been used to cure trial patients with Sickle cell anemia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC292189/ which is extremely painful. It starts as a genetic mutation designed to drastically reduce complications from malaria (and other parasites), which it does, but if 2 people with this protective genetics create offspring, it is more likely too many sickle cells will be normal, leading to sickle cell anemia and eventually death.

Expect lots of breakthroughs over the next 20 yrs.

Flu is just one of the low-hanging-fruits. Imagine being diagnosted with colon cancer, having them take a sample, going back in 2 weeks for the first mRNA shot, then returning 2 weeks later for the 2nd mRNA shot and being told to come back in 6 months to verify all the cancer is gone. That's what the future looks like. COVID just provided an opportunity to get trillions of $$$ thrown at the problem to find extremely effective methods for creation and deployment of the core technology.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I might take one... in fifty years after the initial results on the effect on human life comes.

I'd rather just get the flu than outsourcing my existence to a corporation though...

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Brought to you by the same honest, upstanding corporations who released the safe and effective

covid jabs. What could possibly go wrong?

The vaccines used against covid are recognized by international experts as a huge success, only antivaxxer group's propaganda like to pretend this is not the case.

Don't coerce anybody who doesn't want it to take it.

Making people responsible for their decisions when those decisions are irrational and increase the risks for others is not coercing, it is simply facing the consequences of your free choices. People unvaccinated against influenza for example can't be hired for certain jobs, people that refuse to be tested against certain infectious diseases (every test is a risk) the same.

I might take one... in fifty years after the initial results on the effect on human life comes

You are completely free to do it, but meanwhile you would be already exposed to risks that may be coming to the light even for diseases that humans have had since forever. One of the narrow silver lining of the pandemic is that many things that have been discovered about covid are being tested also for other diseases, experts have found out that the significative risks that come from suffering repeatedly from covid is not something that only happens with this disease and reinfections of other respiratory viruses also produce this elevation of risks.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Your disingenousness is without parallel, and claims to some kind of consenus are laughably fraudulent.

Then how come you have never been able to bring any respected medical or scientific institutution that agrees with what you claim? This is clear proof that the consensus is real and includes everybody that has any kind of authority in the matter.

There are tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and medical scientists around the world who are awake to this grand crime.

But you can never bring any of them? and specially you can never bring any evidence they produce to contradict the actual consensus? this means this is not an argument is just a baseless appeal to authority that do not actually support your claims.

The media and top brass at the institutions and journals, beholden to the pharma companies and governments who dole out their research funds and sponsor industry conferences, have sacrificed their integrity and can no longer be trusted. 

In the age of preprints this argument makes absolutely no sense, anybody can go an publish their studies for everybody to see without paying a single cent, that there is no examples of such evidence (at least no examples that have been repeatedly debunked as fraudulent or mistaken) means you are still left without evidence that should be very easy to produce if the consensus was not real.

Some studies that show the vaccines are dangerous are making it through, but most get blocked by journal editors who are beholden to the companies that advertise in them, and valid preprint studies are slandered because they haven't reached peer review status yet. 

Preprints that include information that has been found false? or with terribly invalid methods debunked with objective arguments that prove why they lead to wrong conclussions? that would be something completely worthy of being thrown away, if you don't agree then why are you not rebuking the criticisms? just claiming they are right when they have been proved wrong does nothing.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

I thought the flu wasn’t a problem……

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sanji,

I thought the flu wasn’t a problem

You thought wrong. The flu (the proper one, not the sniffles with some temperature) can actually be quite dangerous. And while most people recover in a few days, some do not, with pneumonia, myocarditis, encephalitis, myositis and multi-organ failure on the table.

We all know your opinions about Covid, but please don't tell me you don't believe in the flu either.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The vaccines used against covid are recognized by international experts as a huge success, only antivaxxer group's propaganda like to pretend this is not the case.

A large number (fast growing number) of experts and several large peer-reviewed studies are showing this to not be the case...

Some studies that show the vaccines are dangerous are making it through, but most get blocked by journal editors who are beholden to the companies that advertise in them, and valid preprint studies are slandered because they haven't reached peer review status yet. 

Yes, many top researchers and doctors have stated that it is very difficult to get their results published when they go against the pharma narrative. While poorly done studies (even completely fake ones) that support the pharma narrative can easily be published.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

A large number (fast growing number) of experts and several large peer-reviewed studies are showing this to not be the case

Of which you have brought none, which clearly shows this is not the case.

Yes, many top researchers and doctors have stated that it is very difficult to get their results published when they go against the pharma narrative.

In the age of preprints this is too obviously an invalid excuse and not an argument. What makes those results unpublishable are invalid methods or fraudulent results that can easily be proved so.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA)technology used in the COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer with BioNTech, and by Moderna. It delivers tiny lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to create replicas of so-called hemagglutinin proteins that appear on influenza virus surfaces.

Nah.

In lab experiments, vaccinated animals' immune systems recognized the hemagglutinin proteins

Hope the vaccines help the animals.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nah

Is this the only argument you have to contradict the experts working on the vaccine?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites