Home Medizin Forscher entwickeln vielversprechenden rekombinanten Grippeimpfstoff mithilfe der Nanoliposom-Technologie

Forscher entwickeln vielversprechenden rekombinanten Grippeimpfstoff mithilfe der Nanoliposom-Technologie

von NFI Redaktion

Recombinant protein vaccines, such as the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, offer several advantages over traditional vaccines.

They are easy to manufacture with precision, they are safe and may be more effective, and they could require lower doses.

Due to these features, there is significant interest in developing recombinant influenza vaccines. However, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one such vaccine so far.

A research team led by the University at Buffalo aims to increase this number. They are developing a new recombinant influenza vaccine, described in a study published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, which has the potential to compete with existing vaccines.

Due to the varying nature of the viruses that cause influenza, current vaccines are not optimally effective in the general population. We believe that our vaccine candidate has the potential to address this by eliciting stronger and broader immunity, reducing the likelihood of disease and death.“

Jonathan Lovell, PhD, senior co-author of the study, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UB

Conventional influenza vaccines either contain inactivated influenza pathogens or are based on weakened forms of the disease. They are produced from fertilized chicken eggs or, less commonly, by cell culture production.

The vaccine being developed by the UB-led team is based on a nanoliposome – a tiny spherical vesicle – that Lovell and his colleagues created called Cobalt-Porphyrin-Phospholipid or CoPoP. The CoPoP platform allows for the presentation of proteins that promote the immune response on the surface of the nanoliposome, leading to enhanced vaccine efficacy.

(While the CoPoP vaccine platform is not part of this study, it has been tested as a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in clinical phase 2 and phase 3 trials in South Korea and the Philippines. This is a partnership between the UB spin-off company POP Biotechnologies, co-founded by Lovell, and the South Korean biotech company EuBiologics.)

These nanoliposomes alone do not combat diseases. However, when combined with recombinant influenza proteins that can be generated based on genetic information from viruses, they enhance the immune response to diseases.

In the new study, the team attached a total of six proteins to the nanoliposome – three from each of two different protein groups, the hemagglutinins and neuraminidases. The team also added two adjuvants (PHAD and QS21) to enhance the immune response.

Researchers tested the resulting „Hexaplex“ nanoliposome in animal models with three common influenza strains: H1N1, H3N2, and Type B.

Even when administered at low doses, the Hexaplex nanoliposome provided superior protection and improved survival against H1N1 compared to Flublok, the only recombinant influenza vaccine approved in the US, and Fluaid, an egg-based vaccine. Tests showed comparable protection against H3N2 and Type B viruses.

The tests were conducted using vaccination and transfer of serum from vaccinated mice to unvaccinated mice.

„The combination of the two protein groups resulted in synergistic effects. In particular, the adjuvanted nanoliposomes demonstrated the production of functional antibodies and activation of T cells, which are crucial for defense against severe influenza infections,“ said lead author Zachary Sia, a graduate student in Lovell’s lab.

Bruce Davidson, PhD, research associate in Anesthesiology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, is a senior co-author of the study.

He said, „Utilizing not only hemagglutinin but also neuraminidase antigens to create vaccines is important as it leads to broader immunity and allows companies to produce more doses with less material. This is crucial not only for influenza but also for potential outbreaks, as we have seen with COVID-19. There is still much work to be done to fully test and validate this flu technology, but at this point, these initial results are quite promising.“

Co-authors of the study include researchers from McGill University in addition to UB.

Patents related to this work have been filed with the Research Foundation of the State University of New York. Lovell and study co-author Wei-Chiao Huang, a postdoctoral researcher in Lovell’s lab, are employed at POP Biotechnologies.

The study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Journal Reference:

Sia, ZR, et al. (2024) Adjuvanted Nanoliposomes Presenting Six Hemagglutinins and Neuraminidases as an Influenza Virus Vaccine. Cell Reports Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2024.101433.

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