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National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010

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NIAID MEDIA AVAILABILITY
NIH Experts Describe Influenza Vaccines of the Future

WHAT:
In a review article appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, examine research under way to address the limitations of currently available influenza vaccines and develop more efficient and reliable strategies to make vaccines to protect against seasonal as well as pandemic influenza. Although licensed seasonal flu vaccines safely and effectively protect most people who receive them from illness and death, the degree of protection varies depending on how well the circulating virus strains and those in the vaccine match. A vaccine recipient’s age and health status also can affect the effectiveness of influenza vaccination.

The authors discuss the spectrum of ongoing influenza vaccine research that may transform the field in decades to come. Efforts to grow the vaccine virus in cells rather than eggs are currently under way and there is consideration of the addition to influenza vaccine of immune-stimulating adjuvants to be used in certain groups of individuals. Other approaches under development include influenza vaccines based on recombinant virus proteins, non-infectious virus-like particles, harmless vectors or influenza DNA.  Also under intense study is the ultimate goal, a so-called universal flu vaccine that would provide protection against multiple strains of influenza, reducing the need for yearly flu shots while simultaneously protecting against novel flu viruses that may arise in the future.

To further protect vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying chronic diseases from seasonal influenza, as well as to quickly control the spread of potential pandemic influenza viruses, influenza vaccine makers of the future must employ novel production technologies, the authors note.

More information about vaccine technologies and influenza vaccines is available on the NIAID Flu Web portal and at the Advances in Influenza Vaccine Technologies videocast.

ARTICLE:
AS Fauci and L Lambert. Influenza vaccines for the future. New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/ NEJMra1002842 (2010).

WHO:
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to comment on the article.

CONTACT:
To schedule interviews, please contact Nalini Padmanabhan, 301-402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.


NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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Last Updated November 17, 2010

Last Reviewed November 16, 2010