'Universal' influenza vaccine development underway in Europe

Development of a 'universal' influenza vaccine underway in Europe
Credit: Shutterstock

A newly launched European project is set to take a major step toward the development of a universal flu vaccine. It aims to counter the emergence of new strains and seasonal epidemics.

The viral infection usually strikes in colder months with being responsible for around 3 - 5 million cases of severe illness and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide.

Due to its rapid spread particularly among high risk population groups, remains a serious public health problem. To date, the most effective way to prevent the disease or severe symptoms is annual vaccination but current vaccines only offer limited protection against evolving strains of the infection.

To overcome these weaknesses, a public-private partnership comprising seven renowned organisations from Europe joined forces under the EDUFLUVAC project to develop a broad-spectrum, long-lasting against influenza.

EDUFLUVAC launched into action only a month ago and aims to take a novel approach by 'educating' the immune system to cross-recognise common regions within multiple strains.

'Developing a universal has become a global health priority for preventing the spread of the virus and the emergence of new strains, and we are convinced that EDUFLUVAC will be a major step forward towards achieving this goal', says Othmar Engelhardt, principal investigator at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, United Kingdom.'

The research team expects to achieve better protection against epidemic influenza through the development of a vaccine that would not only offer the tremendous advantage of eliminating the need for a seasonal vaccine every year but could also reduce the need for costly annual vaccination campaigns.

Odile Leroy, Executive Director of the European Vaccine Initiative and coordinator of EDUFLUVAC, says: 'Low and middle-income countries currently have minimal programmes. Thus, the development of a vaccine that elicits broad long-lasting defence would facilitate vaccination campaigns and confer protection against influenza in hitherto untargeted groups with limited health care'.

The four-year project is coordinated by the European Vaccine Initiative headquartered in Germany and was awarded a grant of EUR 4.6 million in EU funding.

More information: Project factsheet: cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/110279_en.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FDA approves H5N1 avian influenza vaccine

Nov 26, 2013

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first adjuvanted vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza in adults at greater-than-average risk of exposure.

Recommended for you

Dengue fever strikes models in Japan

1 hour ago

A worsening outbreak of dengue fever in Japan has claimed its first celebrities—two young models sent on assignment to the Tokyo park believed to be its source.

Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

1 hour ago

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

13 hours ago

Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.

Cerebral palsy may be hereditary

19 hours ago

Cerebral palsy is a neurological developmental disorder which follows an injury to the immature brain before, during or after birth. The resulting condition affects the child's ability to move and in some ...

19 new dengue cases in Japan, linked to Tokyo park

Sep 01, 2014

Japan is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular local park in downtown Tokyo.

User comments