NIAID Researchers Advance Development of Universal Flu Vaccine
Scientists have been working for years on a universal flu vaccine, or a vaccine that confers protection against all influenza viruses. Recently, scientists from the Vaccine Research Center and the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, developed an experimental vaccine that elicits antibodies that hitch themselves to the part of the flu virus that stays consistent across different strains: the stem region of hemagglutinin (HA), a surface protein of the flu virus. The vaccine was created with a HA stem from an H1N1 influenza and elicited protection in mice and ferrets against a lethal dose of H5N1 influenza, a different HA subtype. The results provide proof-of-concept that a vaccine that elicits antibodies that target the HA stem can offer broad protection against diverse influenza strains.