Israeli company, BiondVax Pharmaceuticals say universal flu vaccine matches all six potentially pandemic flu strains
Universal flu vaccine developer, BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd announced Tuesday that they have completed a series of biological and other tests, comparing the vaccine elements and the elements contained in ‘new’ influenza strains. The testing showed that the universal vaccine is suited to these new strains found in recent years in humans.
Until lately, the strains H5N8, H6N1, H7N7, H7N9 and H10N8 infected only birds and hence, were not considered dangerous for human. However, all of them have now managed to infect humans and some are deadly. For example, between 2003 and 2013, the bird flu H5N1 has infected 648 humans and of these, 384 have died. Similarly, H7N9 virus was identified in China and since March 2013 has caused the death of 33% of those who were infected.
According to the Company’s ongoing investigations, the small pieces contained in BiondVax’s 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 life cycle. 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. Based on these findings, BiondVax anticipates that the universal vaccine, when the development stage is completed, will be broadly effective against present and future strains in contrast to current vaccines that are strain specific.
Dr Ben-Yedidia, BiondVax’s Chief Scientist, says “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”.