This week in techniques



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mRNA vaccines to prevent influenza A infection

Vaccination with a mixture of protamine-complexed mRNAs could help prevent influenza A infection. A mixture of protamine-complexed mRNA was formulated that could be stored for three weeks without loss of efficacy. In both newborn and aged mice, immunization with a vaccine containing influenza A virus hemagglutinin and influenza A virus neuraminidase mRNAs resulted in 100% survival against a lethal influenza virus challenge and no signs of infection, whereas immunization with a control antigen led to 0% survival. In pigs, immunization with a related mRNA vaccine that also contained influenza A virus nucleoprotein (NP) mRNA prevented signs of clinical disease following influenza virus challenge, whereas immunization with a control antigen did not. Next steps include studying the long-term protection conferred by this vaccine approach.
CureVac GmbH has mRNA-based vaccines in preclinical development to prevent undisclosed infections (see Translating mRNA vaccines, page 1).

SciBX 5(49); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1297
Published online Dec. 20, 2012

Patented; Sanofi has an exclusive option to develop vaccines for predefined, undisclosed pathogens; additional indications available for partnering

Petsch, B. et al. Nat. Biotechnol.; published online Nov. 25, 2012;
Contact: Lothar Stitz, Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany
Contact: Karl-Josef Kallen, CureVac GmbH, Tubingen, Germany