ATLANTA—Dr. Sang-Moo Kang, professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, has received a five-year, $2.7 million federal grant to study seasonal and universal vaccination in elderly populations with pre-existing immunity to influenza viruses.
The grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will be used to determine if a new universal vaccine that induces immunity using multiple influenza proteins will enhance the range and efficacy of cross protection against different influenza virus strains in adult and aged populations with or without pre-existing immunity.
“The outcomes in this project will be highly significant in the aspect of translational science and relevance to improve the cross protective efficacy of flu vaccination,” Kang said.
People age 65 and older are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they become ill from the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Seasonal flu vaccines, which are based on a highly variable influenza protein called hemagglutinin, fail to provide effective cross protection against different types of influenza viruses. The efficacy of these vaccines is particularly low in aged populations, even among individuals with pre-existing immunity to influenza.
In aged populations, the impact of pre-existing immunity on the effectiveness of universal and seasonal vaccination and immunogenicity, the ability of therapeutic protein products to stimulate an immune response, are not well understood. Developing flu vaccination strategies that improve cross protective efficacy in young and aged hosts with pre-existing immunity is of high priority.
This project will test whether new universal vaccines that induce immunity to multiple influenza virus protein targets – M2 extracellular domain, hemagglutinin-stalk domains and neuraminidase – will improve the range and efficacy of cross protection against seasonal variants and pandemic potential flu viruses in adult and aged animals with or without pre-existing immunity.
For more information about the grant, visit https://reporter.nih.gov/search/tTuPNzr7l0C_u2PIGtc51A/project-details/10313001.