A universal flu vaccine using mRNA technology that is successful in mice

A universal flu vaccine using mRNA technology that is successful in mice

Obtaining a vaccine against all subspecies is one of the biggest global health goals, as it is difficult to predict which strain will cause the next pandemic each year.

A team of American scientists has successfully tested a prototype. mRNA vaccine containing antigens from all 20 known subtypes of influenza viruses A and B and this could be the basis for a universal vaccine.

As detailed this Thursday in an article published in the journal Science, the vaccine produced high levels of cross-linked and specific antibodies for each subtype in mice and ferrets, and in protecting animals against symptoms of illness and death after infection with flu strains.

Getting a universal flu vaccine one of the biggest global health goalsbecause it’s hard to predict which strain of flu will cause the next pandemic each year.

In Spain alone, in 2020, this virus, particularly serious in those over 64 and in risk groups, caused more than 600,000 cases, 1,800 intensive care admissions and 3,900 deaths, according to the Carlos III Institute of Health.

Vaccine that attacks all subtypes

Unlike other prototypes that contain a reduced set of antigens shared between virus subtypes, this vaccine includes: specific antigens of each subtype.

Inspired by the success of RNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the team led by Claudia Arévalo of the University of Pennsylvania prepared 20 different mRNAs encapsulated in nanoparticles, the same technology that Moderna used to develop its vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. 2. coronavirus.

each of the RNAs encoded a different hemagglutinin antigenThe study says it’s a highly immunogenic flu protein that helps the virus get into cells.

this antibody levels remained nearly constant four months after vaccination in mice.

Multivalent protein vaccines produced by more traditional methods elicited fewer antibodies and were less protective. multivalent mRNA vaccine in animals, according to the study.

The work is “very interesting” for Adolfo García-Sastre, director of the Institute for Global Health and Emerging Pathogens at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and author of several patents for flu vaccines in clinical development, according to statements collected by Science. Media Center (SMC).


The study “shows the ability to develop multivalent mRNA vaccines. capable of immunizing against 20 or perhaps more different antigens simultaneously. In this case, these are influenza virus antigens, which cover all possible subtypes and variants of the influenza virus, including those with pandemic potential.”

Current flu vaccines Does not protect against viruses with pandemic potentialbut if this vaccine “works well in humans, he would make it“.

Related news

In any case, the Spanish researcher concludes, “we cannot be sure of this until clinical trials are conducted on volunteers,” although it is a very promising preclinical study that suggests a protective capacity against all subtypes of influenza viruses.

In addition, in a related “Perspective” published in the journal Science, Alyson Kelvin and Darryl Falzarano of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, warn that questions remain about the regulatory and approval pathway for such a vaccine that “targets viruses with pandemic potential but is currently not in human circulation.

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