BiondVax Pharmaceuticals – the Israeli company developing a universal flu vaccine – has announced that its universal flu vaccine (M-001) is suited to all six new influenza strains found in recent years in people.
The strains H5N8, H6N1, H7N7, H7N9 and H10N8 were thought to infect only birds and were not considered dangerous for humans. However, all of them have now managed to infect people and some are deadly.
For example, between 2003 and 2013, the bird flu H5N1 virus infected 648 humans – killing 384. Similarly, H7N9 virus was identified in China and since March 2013 has caused the death of 33% of those infected.
BiondVax reports that the small pieces contained in its universal flu vaccine are a good match for all of these new strains. BiondVax’s vaccine was designed to contain small pieces of the flu virus that do not change as they are required for the virus’s lifecycle. These small pieces are enough to teach the human immune system to recognize all flu strains, so that the body quickly stops the virus from causing illness.
“These data are exciting and support the universality of BiondVax’s vaccine against strains emerging in the world, seasonal or pandemic. Today as people are constantly travelling, there are no natural borders that stop diseases from spreading across the globe. We need a new kind of flu vaccine that works against all flu strains and BiondVax has the solution in hand,” says Dr. Ben-Yedidia, BiondVax’s Chief Scientist.
BiondVax says that when the development stage is completed its universal vaccine will be broadly effective against present and future strains in contrast to current vaccines that are strain specific.
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