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Could these innovative flu vaccines prevent deaths from deadly outbreaks?

Source(s):  Labiotech


In traditional vaccines, antigens are injected directly into the body to induce an immune response. Instead, BioNTech is developing a flu vaccine in which messenger RNA is used to provide instructions to the immune cells to produce the antigens themselves.

The main advantage of an RNA-based flu vaccine is speed. Marett estimates a seasonal RNA flu vaccine could be produced in just a few weeks, which has the potential to save many lives in the case of an unexpected outbreak. “This way, if the WHO finds that the virus has mutated away from their predictions and there’s a risk of a pandemic, you’re still able to produce something to protect populations within the necessary timeframe,” [says Sean Marett, COO of BioNTech, a biotech company based in Mainz, Germany].


While BioNTech are developing a seasonal vaccine which protects against the current circulating strain, other European biotechs are even more ambitious. They are aiming to produce a vaccine which protects against multiple strains of influenza in one shot, and so only needs to be administered once every few years.

Oxford-based biotech Vaccitech is developing a vaccine which protects against all influenza A strains by targeting the core proteins inside the virus. The limitation of current seasonal vaccines, as well as BioNTech’s,  is that they use the surface proteins of the influenza A and B viruses, which are constantly evolving as the viruses mutate.


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  • Publication date 01 Oct 2018

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