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Monrovia, CA, United States, 2012/06/12 - Peter Palese, Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, will be giving a keynote presentation entitled “A Universal Influenza Virus Vaccine” at the Influenza Research and Development Conference on July 9th-10th - GTC.
Influenza virus infection continues to be a major public health problem worldwide. Available influenza virus vaccines are effective in healthy individuals but are usually re-formulated annually due to antigenic drift of the circulating viruses. Thus, influenza vaccination programs requiring yearly reimmunization are both expensive and difficult to implement. Recent reports on broadly neutralizing anti-influenza hemagglutinin antibodies suggest that eliciting broad-spectrum humoral immunity against influenza viruses should be possible, given the right immunogen.
Most broadly neutralizing anti-influenza hemagglutinin antibodies bind to the conserved but immuno-subdominant stalk region of the hemagglutinin molecule. Such stalk-specific antibodies directed against the sub-dominant domain of the hemagglutinin have also been found responsible for the extinction of the seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses after the pandemic H1N1 viruses appeared in 2009. In order to induce such antibodies via vaccination, we have designed different hemagglutinin-based immunogens.
These novel constructs (for example, headless hemagglutinins, chimeric hemagglutinins) direct the immune response against the stalk domain efficiently boosting a cross-reactive immune response. Preliminary data from heterologous virus challenge experiments in mice suggest that these novel vaccine constructs are able to induce high levels of broadly neutralizing antibodies that protect against morbidity and mortality. The development of a universal influenza virus vaccine, that - similar to the existing polio and measles vaccines - requires a single or only a few immunizations represents a major advance towards the control of influenza worldwide.
Benefits of this talk include:
1) Chimeric Influenza Viruses as analytical tools;
2) Extinction of seasonal influenza viruses by pandemic strains;
3) Hemagglutinin stem antibodies;
4) Heterosubtypic protection.
Dr. Palese is Professor of Microbiology and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of neuraminidase inhibitors (which are now FDA-approved antivirals). Dr. Palese also pioneered the field of reverse genetics for negative strand RNA viruses, which allows the introduction of site-specific mutations into the genomes of these viruses. This technique is crucial for the study of the structure/function relationships of viral genes, for investigation of viral pathogenicity and for development and manufacture of novel vaccines. Dr. Palese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 for his seminal studies on influenza viruses.
GTC’s Influenza Research & Development is a two-day conference that will be held at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront. This conference will cover various aspects of basic research in influenza including correlates of protection, the role of t-cells in influenza, antibodies, adjuvants and vaccination. Topics such as the current threat of the H5N1 virus and updates on the universal influenza vaccine will be covered by key academic researchers and leaders of the industry. Additionally, government representatives from BARDA, FDA and the USAID will discuss regulatory and government policies for vaccinations in conjunction with our 10th Vaccines Research and Development: All Things Considered Conference.