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Flu (Influenza)
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February 2022

Leadership Transition at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center

February 16, 2022

I extend my heartfelt gratitude and deepest respect to John R. Mascola, M.D., as he announces his retirement as Director of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Mascola will leave NIAID at the end of March.

June 2021

NIH Launches Clinical Trial of Universal Influenza Vaccine Candidate

June 01, 2021

A first-in-human, Phase 1 trial assessing the safety and immunogenicity of an investigational nanoparticle influenza vaccine designed to provide long-lasting protection against multiple flu virus strains has begun at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Healthy participants 18 to 50 years old will receive either a licensed seasonal influenza vaccine or the experimental vaccine, FluMos-v1.

computer-generated image of nanoparticle influenza vaccine

April 2021

NIAID Funds New Influenza Research Network

April 14, 2021

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has established a network of research sites to study the natural history, transmission and pathogenesis of influenza and provide an international research infrastructure to address influenza outbreaks.

Flu virus particles on a cell

February 2021

Intranasal Influenza Vaccine Spurs Strong Immune Response in Phase 1 Study

February 03, 2021

An experimental influenza vaccine was safe and produced a durable immune response when tested in a Phase 1 study, NIH reports.

3D print of influenza virus.

October 2019

Broadly Protective Antibodies Could Lead to Better Flu Treatments and Vaccines

October 25, 2019

A set of three antibodies identified by NIAID could lead to better treatments and vaccines against influenza, according to a paper published this week.

A plastic model of a spherical influenza virus

Influenza Human Challenge Study Begins at NIAID-Sponsored Clinical Trial Units

October 23, 2019

A NIAID clinical trial aims to assess how levels of pre-existing influenza antibodies impact a volunteer’s flu symptoms following exposure to influenza.

3D print of influenza surface protein

September 2019

NIH Forms New Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Research Network

September 30, 2019

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has initiated the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) program, a new network of research centers that will work together in a coordinated, multidisciplinary effort to develop more durable, broadly protective and longer-lasting influenza vaccines. NIAID will provide up to approximately $51 million in total first-year funding for the program, which is designed to support the CIVICs program centers over seven years. 

A picture of swine flu virus particles budding from the surface of a cell.

Disrupting the Gut Microbiome May Affect Some Immune Responses to Flu Vaccination

September 06, 2019

The normal human gut microbiome is a flourishing community of microorganisms, some of which can affect the human immune system. In a new paper published this week in Cell, researchers found that oral antibiotics, which can kill gut microorganisms, can alter the human immune response to seasonal influenza vaccination. The work was led by scientists at Stanford University and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. 

A transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles.

August 2019

NIH-Funded Study Will Test Seasonal Flu Vaccines With Two Experimental Adjuvants

August 08, 2019

An early-stage clinical trial is evaluating two licensed seasonal influenza vaccines, administered with or without novel adjuvants, for their safety and ability to generate an immune response. Adjuvants are compounds added to vaccines to induce stronger and longer-lasting immune responses. The Phase 1 study is enrolling healthy adult volunteers at eight sites across the United States. The trial is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

A person receives a flu shot

June 2019

NIH-Supported Study Reveals a Novel Indicator of Influenza Immunity

June 03, 2019

A study of influenza virus transmission in Nicaraguan households reveals new insights into the type of immune responses that may be protective against influenza virus infection, report investigators. The findings could help scientists design more effective influenza vaccines and lead to the development of novel universal influenza vaccines.

Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles. Surface proteins on the virus particles are shown in black.

May 2019

NIAID Announces Two Awards for Multi-Year Studies of Influenza Immunity in Children

May 22, 2019

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced two awards for the study of influenza immunity in children. The awards, which may total more than $64 million over seven years, will support studies led by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, examining how young children’s immune systems respond over multiple years to their initial influenza infection and their first vaccination.

A picture of a  3-D printed influenza virus

Human Antibody Reveals Hidden Vulnerability in Influenza Virus

May 16, 2019

The ever-changing “head” of an influenza virus protein has an unexpected Achilles heel, report scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health. The team discovered and characterized the structure of a naturally occurring human antibody that recognizes and disrupts a portion of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein that the virus uses to enter and infect cells.

swine influenza virus particles attached to and budding off a cell

April 2019

Scientists Review Influenza Vaccine Research Progress and Opportunities

April 08, 2019

Experts from and supported by NIAID detail efforts to improve seasonal influenza vaccines and ultimately develop a universal influenza vaccine.

Transmission electron micrograph of H1N1 virus particles.

NIH Begins First-in-Human Trial of a Universal Influenza Vaccine Candidate

April 03, 2019

The first clinical trial of an innovative universal influenza vaccine candidate is examining the vaccine’s safety and tolerability as well as its ability to induce an immune response in healthy volunteers. Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, developed the experimental vaccine, known as H1ssF_3928. 

volunteer receives an experimental universal influenza vaccine

September 2018

Experimental Nasal Influenza Vaccine Tested in Kids, Teens

September 17, 2018

An early-stage clinical trial testing the safety and immune-stimulating ability of an experimental nasal influenza vaccine in healthy 9- to 17-year-old children and teens has begun enrolling participants at a Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) site at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. The VTEU is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Trial Testing Topical Cream Plus Influenza Vaccine in Progress

September 05, 2018

A Phase 1 clinical trial examining whether a topical cream can enhance the immune response conferred by a “pre-pandemic” influenza vaccine is underway at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Investigators are evaluating whether imiquimod cream, which is commonly used to treat genital warts and certain skin cancers, can boost the body’s immune response to an H5N1 influenza vaccine. The trial is enrolling 50 healthy adults ages 18-50 years.

A picture of a  3-D printed influenza virus

August 2018

HIV/AIDS Research Yields Dividends Across Medical Fields

August 28, 2018

NIAID investment in HIV/AIDS research has led to numerous advances outside the HIV field after giving scientists critical insights into the immune system.

NIAID Vaccine Research Center scientist uses pipetting tool under fume hood in lab.

Obesity Extends Duration Of Influenza A Virus Shedding

August 02, 2018

Obesity, which increases influenza disease severity, also extends by about 1.5 days how long influenza A virus is shed from infected adults compared to non-obese adults, according to a multi-year study of two cohorts of Nicaraguan households. The findings implicate chronic inflammation caused by obesity as well as increasing age as reasons for extended viral shedding, which puts others at risk of infection. 

H1N1 influenza virus particles

July 2018

NIAID Scientists Create 3D Structure of 1918 Influenza Virus-Like Particles

July 11, 2018

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are protein-based structures that mimic viruses and bind to antibodies. Because VLPs are not infectious, they show considerable promise as vaccine platforms for many viral diseases, including influenza. Realizing that fine details about influenza VLPs were scant, a team of researchers who specialize in visualizing molecular structures developed a 3D model based on the 1918 H1 pandemic influenza virus.

On the left is a 1918 H1 influenza virus-like particle (VLP) as seen by cryo-electron microscopy. On the right is the same VLP rendered in 3D with structural components computationally segmented and colored

May 2018

NIAID-Sponsored Trial of a Universal Influenza Vaccine Begins

May 04, 2018

A Phase 2 clinical trial of an investigational universal influenza vaccine intended to protect against multiple strains of the virus has begun in the United States. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is being conducted at four U.S. sites that are part of the NIAID-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs).

April 2018

Research Offers Clues for Improved Influenza Vaccine Design

April 06, 2018

Influenza vaccines that better target the influenza surface protein called neuraminidase (NA) could offer broad protection against various influenza virus strains and lessen the severity of illness, according to new research published in Cell. Current seasonal influenza vaccines mainly target a different, more abundant influenza surface protein called hemagglutinin (HA). However, because influenza vaccines offer varying and sometimes limited protection, scientists are exploring ways to improve vaccine effectiveness.

3D print of influenza virus showing hemagglutinin and neuraminidase

March 2018

NIH Scientists Say Advanced Vaccines Could Limit Future Outbreaks

March 22, 2018

NIAID reports novel vaccine technologies are critical to improving public health response to infectious disease threats that emerge and re-emerge.

H7N9 Influenza Vaccine Clinical Trials Begin

March 15, 2018

Two new clinical trials testing an experimental vaccine to prevent influenza caused by an H7N9 influenza virus are now enrolling volunteers at sites across the United States. The Phase 2 studies, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will test different dosages of the inactivated influenza vaccine candidate (called 2017 H7N9 IIV) as well as different vaccination schedules. The studies also will evaluate whether an adjuvant boosts the immune responses of people receiving the vaccine. 

February 2018

NIAID Unveils Strategic Plan for Developing a Universal Influenza Vaccine

February 28, 2018

Developing a universal influenza vaccine—a vaccine that can provide durable protection for all age groups against multiple influenza strains, including those that might cause a pandemic—is a priority for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, NIAID officials detail the institute’s new strategic plan for addressing the research areas essential to creating a safe and effective universal influenza vaccine.

Universal influenza vaccine should be at least 75% effective, protect against influenza A group 1 and 2, protect for at least 1 year, be suitable for all ages

January 2018

Flu Infection Study Increases Understanding of Natural Immunity

January 23, 2018

People with higher levels of antibodies against the stem portion of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein have less viral shedding when they get the flu, but do not have fewer or less severe signs of illness, according to a new study published in mBio. HA sits on the surface of the influenza virus to help bind it to cells and features a head and stem region.