Untitled Page

November 3, 2006

Development of a Universal Influenza Vaccine
Dr. Gary Fujii
President and CEO of Molecular Express
Los Angeles, CA

The recent emergence of multiple avian influenza A subtypes that cause human disease (i.e., H5N1,
H9N2 and H7N7), coupled with the fear that one of these strains might precipitate a new pandemic,
underscores the need to develop new technological approaches to immunization which elicit protective
immune responses against multiple subtypes of influenza A. In response to this demand, several matrix
2 protein ectodomain segments (M2e) present in H1N1, H5N1, H6N2, and H9N2 influenza strains were
formulated using a novel liposome-based vaccine technology and evaluated as potential immunogens for
developing a “universal” influenza vaccine (Ernst et al., 2006). Mice immunized with liposomal M2e
survived homologous challenges with H1N1, H6N2 or H9N2 influenza strains. Significant reductions in
the lung viral load for these strains as well as for the H5N1 subtype were observed. Immunized mice
elicited high IgG1 ELISA antibody titers to M2e epitopes and antiserum from these immunized mice
provided passive protection to naïve mice receiving a lethal dose of influenza virus. These results
provide the first evidence that recombinant M2e epitopes to multiple subtypes can elicit immune
protection against a homologous challenge and presents further evidence in favor of the development of
“universal” influenza vaccines based on M2e antigens.
Ernst, W.A., Kim, H.J., Tumpey, T.M., Jansen, A.D.A., Tai, W., Cramer, D.V., Adler-Moore, J.P., and
Fujii, G. (2006) Protection against H1, H5, H6 and H9 influenza A infection with liposomal matrix 2
epitope vaccines. Vaccine 24(24): 5158-5168.