Replication competent bi- and tri-valent influenza viruses as vaccines
Influenza infection is a major public health concern, with an estimated 200,000 Americans hospitalized each year with flu or flu-related illness. The most effective method for flu prevention is vaccination, however, due to seasonal variability in circulating strains of influenza, a new vaccine formulation must be developed each year. Current methods for vaccine manufacture involve culturing distinct flu isolates having different hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins using chicken eggs. This culture process is complicated by the existence of poor-growing influenza isolates and carries a risk of inducing adaptive viral mutations that can render a vaccine ineffective.
This technology enables the expression of multiple influenza HA proteins on a single virion, allowing a poorly growing, mutation-prone strain of influenza to be paired with a robust, laboratory-adapted strain. This allows the efficient vaccine production from poorly growing viral isolates with reduced risk of viral mutation. Through bypassing optimization required for traditional production of difficult viral strains, this technology may yield both increased speed and efficacy of influenza vaccine manufacture.
This technology could also be used to improve production for coronavirus vaccines. The technology can be used to generate COVID-19 vaccines that elicit strong mucosal responses to protect during respiratory transmission.
Due to the specific design of this technology, it is possible to express proteins from pathogens other than the influenza virus. This could provide an exciting opportunity for the development of combined vaccines eliciting protection against multiple distinct agents which have previously been difficult to vaccinate against.
- Reduced risk of viral mutation during chicken egg-based manufacturing methods
- Increased growth and stability of poorly growing viral isolates through complementation with robust HA
- Ability to express proteins from unrelated pathogens for the production of combined vaccines