Washington: A new approach for immunizing against influenza, developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine concept represents an important step forward in the quest to develop a universal influenza vaccine-one that would protect against most or all influenza strains without the need for an annual vaccination.The scientists designed an experimental vaccine featuring the protein ferritin, which can self-assemble into microscopic pieces called nanoparticles, as a key component. Ferritin was fused genetically with hemagglutinin (HA), the protein found on the surface of the influenza virus, resulting in a nanoparticle with eight protruding viral spikes.Using this as the basis for the vaccine antigen, the researchers created an experimental vaccine using HA from a 1999 strain of H1N1 influenza virus and evaluated its ability to stimulate an immune response in mice.
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