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BioCentury Innovations
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As published Thursday, September 03, 2015

By Lauren Martz, Senior Writer

While few experts think either of the influenza vaccines described in two separate papers last week will turn out to be the universal vaccine the field is waiting for, their inventors do believe the preclinical compounds could be game changers in that search. By targeting the stem rather than head region of the key viral antigen, two separate groups converged on a strategy that could be the most realistic chance of generating protection against all the major strains of the virus and eliminating the need for a new vaccine each year.

Gary Nabel, CSO of Sanofi and a corresponding author on one of the studies, told BioCentury it's been a major goal of vaccinologists and public health officials to develop a flu vaccine with better coverage and protection against emerging strains, and that the findings are an important step in that direction. Nabel was formerly director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center.