Original title: universal influenza vaccine, how far away from us?
A century after the catastrophic Spanish pandemic in history, scientists around the world are rethinking how to prevent another superflu like the 1918 flu.
Leading experts in the field of influenza, as well as health officials from China, the United States, Singapore and Japan, have gathered in Beijing to share the experience of human beings and influenza prevention and control in the past 100 years at the 2008 World Influenza Conference.
Reporters learned from the meeting that the "universal influenza vaccine" is currently the global scientists are looking for a new flu solution.
Common influenza vaccines, commonly known as "pandemic influenza vaccines," are ideal for a single injection of a universal influenza vaccine to prevent all known and emerging influenza A viruses and work for life. But a more practical, universal influenza vaccine is a one-off vaccine that prevents all influenza viruses and is effective for three to twenty years.
This characteristic of a universal influenza vaccine makes it resistant not only to changing seasonal influenza viruses, but also to future pandemic influenza viruses. If the research and development is successful, it will undoubtedly be a great progress. How far is it from us?
Universal vaccines can kill all influenza.
Influenza vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza before the flu season.
But influenza viruses are highly variable, and when a new mutant strain of influenza virus emerges, the original influenza vaccine loses protection. This characteristic of influenza virus requires that influenza vaccine be renewed every year, and it can not be immutable.
Normally, the World Health Organization (WHO) makes recommendations for influenza vaccine strains worldwide based on the predictions of influenza epidemic strains for the next season. The global vaccine manufacturers reproduced the influenza vaccine according to WHO's prediction results.
"But influenza virus epidemic strains often mutate in the population, and it is very difficult to predict the virus strains." Florian Cramer, a professor at Mount Sinai Medical College, said (Florian Krammer).
A recent example is that the influenza virus strain Yamagata strain was used in many parts of China last winter, but the trivalent influenza vaccine used at the time did not contain this type of ingredients, so the vaccine is not protective against this type, and people vaccinated against influenza may still be "recruited".
"The annual flu vaccine is not 100% matched with the epidemic strain, so it is impossible to fully protect the population. In some countries, the flu vaccine protection rate is only 2%. Florian Krammer said.
Therefore, the development of a universal vaccine that can "kill" all influenza viruses without annual vaccination has become an urgent hope for scientists around the world.
No human vaccine has been developed.
Florian Krammer says scientists around the world are trying to attack universal vaccines from a variety of different research directions. For example, M2e universal vaccines based on M2 protein components with less variability of influenza virus shells, haemagglutinin (HA) based universal vaccines, or peptide based universal vaccines.
Currently, Georgia State University and Sanofi Pasteur are working on a universal hemagglutinin (HA) vaccine, and Merck is working on a peptide-based vaccine.
In theory, a universal influenza vaccine could provide longer protection against more strains by attacking parts of the virus that do not change over time. Take a universal influenza vaccine based on haemagglutinin (HA). Simply put, influenza viruses are covered with mushroom-shaped proteins. Ordinary seasonal influenza vaccines attack mushroom heads, but when the virus mutates, the shape of the mushroom heads changes and the vaccine becomes ineffective. Universal vaccines will attack mushroom stems, which are not susceptible to mutation.
So far, however, no scientific team has developed a universal influenza vaccine that is truly suitable for humans. "There's still a lot of work to be done on universal vaccines," says Florian Krammer. "It's still early clinical trials, and we've done a lot of animal model testing, hoping to find more scientific ways to do it in more animal models."
China's future or join R & D queue
New progress in the research and development of universal influenza vaccines has been coming out.
In January, researchers at Georgia State University published a study in the British Journal Nature Communications that showed that the universal vaccine produced long-lasting immunity in mice. The researchers exposed mice to a variety of influenza viruses, such as H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 and H7N9, after intramuscular injection of a universal vaccine, which provides full protection against deadly viruses and greatly reduces the number of viruses in the lungs.
According to the Daily Mail, Scott Hensley, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, published a study in the Journal Nature Communications in August that showed the vaccine protected mice from various influenza strains and hoped to enter human trials within two years.
In the future, China will probably join the list of R & D. Xu Shuqiang, director of the Health Emergency Office of the National Health Council of China, specifically mentioned in his speech at the 2008 Influenza Conference: "Yesterday I spoke with officials of the U.S. Department of Health. He was breaking through our ideas. He thought that we should consider developing a universal vaccine that works for all influenza, and that's what we're trying to do. To. "
At least 290 thousand people die each year from influenza worldwide.
Unlike seasonal flu, which occurs every year, the unpredictable pandemic is a world disaster.
According to Wang Longde, president of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the global influenza pandemic has caused hundreds of millions of infections and tens of millions of deaths in the past 100 years.
The most severe of all is the 1918 flu. In March 1918, an outbreak of influenza broke out in North America. A few months later, it spread across the Atlantic and Pacific to Europe, Asia and the world. There were two outbreaks in the autumn of 1918 and the following spring. Three waves of influenza have infected nearly one billion people worldwide and killed more than 50 million people, more than the death toll from the First World War.
Over the next 100 years, three pandemic influenza attacks occurred in 1957, 1968 and 2009. "China is one of the countries most seriously affected by influenza. According to the relevant literature, the two influenza pandemic in 1957 and 1968 began in China. Wang Longde said.
The latest was the 2009 pandemic of influenza A (H1N1). The influenza pandemic originated in North America. It is a * H1N1 influenza virus that is genetically reproduced by the swine influenza virus and human influenza virus. From April 19, 2009 to March 2010, influenza viruses spread to 214 countries and regions worldwide, resulting in 18,000 deaths.
Today, data from WHO show that influenza still causes 290 thousand to 650 thousand deaths worldwide each year.
This edition is written / Beijing News reporter Xu Wen
Editor in chief: Zhang Yiling
Waonews is a news media from China, with hundreds of translations, rolling updates China News, hoping to get the likes of foreign netizens