BiondVax takes on avian flu

Israeli biotech company says its universal flu vaccine enhances the efficiency of the human pandemic bird flu inoculation.

Reports of bird flu outbreaks are in the headlines again but now an Israeli biotech company says its trial results could keep human infection at bay.

BiondVax Pharmaceuticals has announced positive results from repeated pre-clinical studies in which administration of its universal influenza vaccine M-001 before H5N1 pandemic vaccine significantly increased levels of antibodies directed against bird flu hemagglutinin protein.

Priming with the M-001 vaccine before an H5N1 pandemic vaccine means people would only need one inoculation shot instead of two H5N1 pandemic vaccine doses.

At the moment, influenza vaccines are strain-specific and manufacturers can only begin preparing a pandemic-specific vaccine after the outbreak of a deadly disease. But six months could pass between pandemic alert and pandemic vaccines reaching the market. If M-001 is used during this time period, BiondVax says it will enhance immunity and increase the number of people responding to the pandemic strain-specific vaccine.

“BiondVax has accomplished another milestone, pre-clinical proof-of-principle for M-001 serving as a pre-pandemic primer. This achievement, along with BiondVax’s success in passing a QP GMP audit, paves the way for multinational human clinical studies examining M-001 priming of bird flu vaccines,” said BiondVax’s CEO, Dr. Ron Babecoff.

BiondVax will present its data from these studies at the WHO conference in Hong Kong in January 2013.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.