A universal flu vaccine using mRNA technology, successful in mice
Achieving a vaccine against all subtypes is one of the biggest global health goals, as it is difficult to anticipate each year which strain will cause the next pandemic
A team of American scientists has successfully tested a prototype of in animal models.an mRNA vaccine that contains antigens from the 20 known subtypes of the influenza A and B viruses and that could serve as the basis for a universal vaccine.
As detailed According to an article published in the journal Science this Thursday, the vaccine produced high levels of cross-specific and cross-specific antibodiesfor each subtype in mice and ferrets, and achieved It will protect animals against symptoms of illness and death after infection with flu strains.
Achieving a universal flu vaccine is one of the major goals of global health, as it's hard to anticipate each year what's going to happen. which strain of flu will cause the next pandemic.
Only in Spain, in 2020, this virus, which is especially serious in those over 64 years of age and in risk groups, caused the disease. More than 600,000 cases, 1,800 ICU admissions and 3,900 deaths, according to the Carlos III Health Institute.
Vaccine that attacks all subtypes
Unlike other prototypes Although they contain a narrow set of antigens shared between virus subtypes, this vaccine includes subtype-specific antigens.
Inspired by the success of the RNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the team led by Claudia Arévalo, from the University of Pennsylvania, prepared a new vaccine. 20 different mRNAs encapsulated in nanoparticles, the same technology used by Moderna to develop its coronavirus vaccines.
Each of the RNAs coded for a different hemagglutinin antigen, a highly immunogenic flu protein that helps the virus enter cells, the study notes.
Antibody levels remained nearly stable strong>four months after vaccination in mice.
Multivalent protein vaccines produced with more traditional methods elicited fewer antibodies and were less protective compared to multivalent mRNA vaccine in the animals, according to the study.
For Adolfo García-Sastre, director of the Institute for Global Health and Emerging Pathogens at the Monte Sinaí Hospital, he said: From New York and author of several patents for flu vaccines in clinical development, the study is “very interesting,” according to statements collected by the Science Media Center (SMC).
The study “demonstrates the ability to develop multivalent mRNA vaccines that are capable of immunizing against 20 or perhaps more different antigens at the same time. In this case, they are influenza virus antigens that encompass all possible influenza virus subtypes and variants, including those with pandemic potential.”
Current influenza vaccines They don't protect against viruses with pandemic potential, but this vaccine, “if it works well in people, would do this .”
In In any case, despite being a very promising preclinical study that suggests protective capacity against all subtypes of influenza viruses, “we cannot be sure of this until clinical trials are carried out on volunteers,” concludes the Spanish researcher.
In addition, in a related “Perspective” published in Science, Alyson Kelvin and Darryl Falzarano, from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), warn that “there are still Questions about the regulation and approval pathway for a vaccine of this type. The type that targets viruses of pandemic potential but not currently in human circulation.”