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Researchers test mRNA technology for universal flu vaccine

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NOVEMBER 24 (Reuters) – An experimental vaccine offers broad protection against all 20 known influenza A and B virus subtypes in early trials in mice and ferrets, helping prevent future pandemics A study released Thursday that could pave the way for a possible universal flu vaccination.

The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used in the Pfizer-developed COVID-19 shot (PFE.N) biotech and (22UAy.DE)and by Moderna (mRNA.O)It delivers small lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to make replicas of the so-called hemagglutinin protein that appears on the surface of the influenza virus.

A universal vaccine doesn’t mean the end of the flu season, but it does replace the guess work of developing an annual vaccination months before each flu season.

“The idea here is to make a vaccine that gives people a baseline level of immune memory against different flu strains, so that when the next flu pandemic hits, they’ll get much less sick and die. study leader Scott Hensley of the Perelman School. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said in a statement.

Unlike standard influenza vaccines, which deliver one or two versions of hemagglutinin, the experimental vaccine contains a vaccine that hopefully allows the immune system to recognize influenza viruses it may encounter in the future. , which includes 20 different types.

In laboratory experiments, the immune system of vaccinated animals recognized the hemagglutinin protein and protected against 18 influenza A strains and 2 influenza B strains. journal science.

The vaccine reduced signs of illness and protected ferrets from death, even if they were exposed to another type of flu not included in the vaccine, the researchers said.

Moderna and Pfizer both have mRNA flu vaccines in late-stage human trials, and GSK (GSK.L) and partner CureVac (5CV.DE) We are testing mRNA influenza vaccines in early-stage safety trials in humans. may occur.

Universal flu vaccines, even if successful in human trials, do not necessarily prevent infection.The goal is to provide lasting protection against severe illness and death, Hensley said. .

Alison Kelvin and Darryl Falzarano, of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, are left with questions about how to determine vaccine efficacy and potential regulatory requirements against future viruses that are not currently circulating.

The promising results of the new vaccine “suggest its ability to protect against all subtypes of the influenza virus, but we won’t be sure until clinical trials in volunteers,” said Mount Global Health and Emerging Pathogens. said Adolfo Garcia Sastrem, Director of the Institute. Sinai Hospital in New York said in a statement.

Reporting by Nancy Rapid. Edited by Christine Soares and Bill Berkrot

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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