SEATTLE – In this lab at the University of Washington, researchers are exploring the possibilities of designing synthetic proteins.
One goal is to create a different and better flu vaccine, known as the universal flu vaccine.
“Influenza vaccines are currently aimed at small groups of viruses, and our vaccines are designed to target a broader group of viruses,” Dan Ellis said.
Ellis is a lead researcher at the UW Medicine Institute for Protein Design.
He used computer models to show how KIRO 7 created a vaccine by inserting fragments of the virus into a technology developed in a lab called a nanoparticle platform.
“So if the prediction of the strain for the vaccine is not completely accurate, it can still provide protection, so it is more reliable in the event of a bad flu,” Ellis explains.
His lab works with the National Vaccine, Allergy and Infectious Diseases Research Center.
It is part of the same organization that Dr.Anthony Fauci leads.
Just last week, Fauci testified before the House Assignment Committee.
“What other progress has been made in the past year in the development of a universal influenza vaccine?” Asked Chairwoman Rose DeLauro (D-CT).
“Indeed, it’s just beginning today, a Phase I experiment of what is known as the nanoparticle mosaic method for the universal influenza vaccine. So thank you for asking that question. This is what it looks like, ”Fauci replied.
Ellis said the vaccine worked very well when it was tested on mice, ferrets and primates. The next step is to test people to see how safe they are.
The trial will include 40 people, half of whom will receive the experimental universal influenza vaccine, while the other half will receive the standard flu vaccine.
Human trials are expected to take up to 2 years, so it will take some time before any introduction to market is discussed.
But it’s an exciting time for Ellis and other scientists working on innovations that will impact global health.
“There is a huge possibility of extending this technology to other viral families such as the coronavirus, HIV and many more,” Ellis added.
Copyright © 2021 Cox Media Group.