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Am J Epidemiol 2018 Dec 1;187(12):2603-14

Universal influenza vaccines: progress in achieving broad cross-protection in vivo.

Epstein SL


Despite all we have learned since 1918 about influenza virus and immunity, available influenza vaccines remain inadequate to control outbreaks of unexpected strains. Universal vaccines not requiring strain-matching would be a major improvement. Their composition would be independent of predicting circulating viruses, and thus potentially effective against unexpected drift or pandemic strains. This commentary explores progress with candidate universal vaccines based on various target antigens. Candidates include vaccines based on conserved viral proteins such as nucleoprotein and matrix, on the conserved hemagglutinin (HA) stem, and various combinations. Discussion will cover the differing evidence for each candidate vaccine demonstrating protection in animals against influenza viruses of widely divergent HA subtypes and groups, durability of protection, routes of administration including mucosal providing local immunity, and reduction of transmission. Human trials of some candidate universal vaccines have been completed or are underway. Interestingly, the HA stem, like nucleoprotein and matrix, induces immunity permitting some virus replication and emergence of escape mutants fit enough to cause disease. Vaccination with multiple target antigens will thus have advantages over use of single antigens. Ultimately, a universal vaccine providing long-term protection against all influenza virus strains might contribute to pandemic control and routine vaccination.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #30084906 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwy145
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2018-04-01 Entry Last Modified: 2018-12-30