NIAID-supported researchers are working to develop “universal” flu vaccines. A universal flu vaccine would, in theory, neutralize most or all influenza virus strains, eliminating the need for an annual vaccine.
One of these experimental vaccines uses variants of a viral protein and two novel adjuvants that target distinct receptors on innate immune cells. These two adjuvants are synthetic, small, drug-like molecules that are easier to produce, easier to formulate with the vaccine, and safer than their naturally occurring, isolated counterparts. In mice, this experimental vaccine was safe and provided rapid, long-lived protection against a variety of influenza virus strains.
Goff PH, Hayashi T, Martínez-Gil L, Corr M, Crain B, Yao S, Cottam HB, Chan M, Ramos I, Eggink D, Heshmati M, Krammer F, Messer K, Pu M, Fernandez-Sesma A, Palese P, Carson DA. Synthetic Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR7 ligands as influenza virus vaccine adjuvants induce rapid, sustained, and broadly protective responses. Journal of Virology (2015).