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A Large-Scale Research Project by a Dutch Consortium Addressing a Global Problem
Date:9/11/2007

refore, we hope for ground-breaking results."

Respiratory viruses are the cause of a large burden of disease in humans and although effective vaccines exist to protect against seasonal influenza, no vaccines are currently available for other important human respiratory viral diseases such as avian influenza, pandemic influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. There are a number of reasons for this: an incomplete understanding of the correlates of (vaccine-induced) protection against these infections that stems from research activities whose focus is too limited, inadequate research tools, and because efficient vaccine delivery systems for humans are largely lacking.

Principal investigator Professor Osterhaus: "This project aims to fill these knowledge gaps in the prevention of respiratory virus infections through developing a set of tools to enable us to better understand the roles of both the humoral and the cellular arms of the adaptive immune system, stimulated by virus infection and vaccination. Other aims of the project are to develop novel vaccines based on antigens produced by new manufacturing systems and with innovative delivery systems, that will induce both humoral and cellular immunity. Pandemic influenza will be used as the primary model disease as it is considered a major threat and is part of the World Health Organization's Priority Medicines program. Certain aspects of the work will be extended to the development of intervention strategies for RSV infection."

Most seasonal influenza vaccines are inactivated, subunit, whole- or split-virus vaccines. Vaccines for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain H5N1, which may well be the basis of the next pandemic in humans, have been modelled on such seasonal vaccines but have been proven to be poorly immunogenic in humans as large doses are required to obtain a modest and highly restricted immune response. This is likely because seasonal vaccination acts to boost
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SOURCE Top Institute Pharma
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