Design of a “Universal” Influenza Synthetic Peptide Vaccine.
With the influenza season quickly approaching, how important is it to produce a universal flu vaccine? How effective could a universal vaccine against subtypes of flu? Tell us below or download this presentation to find out more!
Robert S. Hodges from the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, joined us at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington in April 2012 to discuss the development of a Universal Influenza Synthetic Peptide Vaccine based on highly conserved regions of hemagglutinin (HA). The aim of this research is to provide broad and long lasting protection against many subtypes of influenza, which would not need to be changed annually and would protect against antigenic drift and antigenic shift variants. The necessity for such a vaccine is evident as the influenza annual toll is more than a billion cases. A ‘Universal Vaccine’ would dramatically reduce economic burden of health care costs, lost work days and loss of life.
Site-directed Antibodies to Protein α-Helical Segments
1. Helical segments in proteins are stabilized by secondary and tertiary interactions in the native protein but the corresponding synthetic peptide on its own in solution will be generally unstructured and unable to produce antibodies that recognize α-helices in native proteins.
2. Without structural constraints, the flexibility of peptides will lead to a diverse set of conformations presented to the immune system, most of which are non-native.
3. Thus, there is a need for structure-stabilized immunogens for the generation of antibodies that recognize a specific conformation like α-helices in native proteins.
Why not download the full presentation and get more details about their plan to produce a universal influenza vaccine:
Begin by identifying the conserved a-helical segments in the stem region of HA from different subtypes. The design template a-helical coiled-coil peptide immunogen. Followed by eliciting rabbit anti-peptide antibodies that cross-react with native HA protein and then being able to determine the efficacy of antibodies in animal model of infection.