Navigation Links
Better by design: Engineering flu vaccines
Date:3/17/2009

HOUSTON -- (March 17, 2009) -- A new computerized method of testing could help world health officials better identify flu vaccines that are effective against multiple strains of the disease. Rice University scientists who created the method say tests of data from bird flu and seasonal flu outbreaks suggest their method can better gauge the efficacy of proposed vaccines than can tests used today.

Rice's Michael Deem, the lead scientist on the project, will present the group's results March 19 at the American Physical Society's 2009 meeting in Pittsburgh. The results are also slated to appear in the forthcoming book "Influenza: Molecular Virology" from Horizon Scientific Press.

Avian flu, or bird flu, is a particularly deadly type of flu that's transmitted from birds to humans. It hasn't yet evolved into a form that can be transmitted readily between humans, but scientists and world health authorities are trying to prepare for a potential outbreak. Because the virus mutates continually, creating a vaccine in advance is problematic. For example, scientists have already found that a vaccine designed for the 1997 strain of bird flu does not work against a 2003 strain.

"Current vaccines contain only a single version of a given flu subtype," Deem said. "We wanted to gauge the effectiveness of a vaccine that contained multiple versions of a given subtype."

World health authorities currently test the efficacy of proposed flu vaccines using either ferrets, which can contract the same forms of flu as people, or genetic assays. Rice's new computerized method could be a cheaper and faster alternative.

With the new method, flu virus mutations are assigned numerical scores. Deem, Rice's John W. Cox Professor of Bioengineering and professor of physics and astronomy, and colleagues developed the method so they could assign a number that captured the amount of difference or similarity between strains. The method can also be used to test how effective a vaccine will be against divergent strains. To verify this, the team checked their results against flu vaccine data collected by the World Health Organization from 1971 to 2004.

"For seasonal influenza, we validated our model against observational data compiled by the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Surveillance Network," Deem said. "We also ran tests against bird flu data. We found that multiple-component bird flu vaccines appeared to be helpful in controlling the simultaneous multiple introduction of bird flu strains."

Influenza viruses are like chameleons. They constantly change the patterns on their outer surface to avoid being targeted by antibodies. This rapid mutation rate is the reason seasonal flu vaccines must be changed annually. However, the vaccines sometimes offer less than ideal protection against newly evolved strains. It takes about six months to produce annual vaccine supplies; also, ideal vaccine strains are often difficult to produce by the standard hen's egg technology, and alternative strains are substituted.

"Oftentimes, bird flu seems to emerge with multiple strains, and something similar can happen with newly released or evolved strains of seasonal flu as well," Deem said. The computational approach Deem will discuss is able to estimate the need for and the efficacy of a multiple-component vaccine in the face of the emergence of multiple flu strains.

Each year, world health authorities create a flu vaccine that protects against three types of seasonal flu -- two subtypes of type A flu and one subtype of type B.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Conventional prognostic factors fail to explain better prostate cancer survival in most Asian men
2. Waist-to-hip ratio may better predict cardiovascular risk than body mass index
3. Informational handout key to giving parents a better understanding of CT radiation risks
4. Children of depressed moms do better when dad is involved, SLU researcher finds
5. Struggling male readers respond better to female teachers
6. Physician Skin Care Specialist Says Proposed New Rules for Sunscreen Products Will Better Protect the Public
7. Mothers Know Best: NFL Moms Team With Eddie George to Showcase a Better Way to a Healthier Lifestyle
8. Researchers Find Better Way to Deliver Blood Thinner
9. Clinical trials present better alternatives for dialysis patients
10. New nurses report job stress, need for better management
11. Hispanics hypertension better controlled with equal access to care
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Better by design: Engineering flu vaccines
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The Florida Hospital Tampa ... Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the leading authority in hyperbaric medicine. This accreditation identifies ... few hospitals and facilities have earned this distinction. This is the second time ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Mirixa ... (MTM), adherence, and other pharmacist-delivered patient care services, has announced the promotions of ... Hoessel to vice president of sales. , Litsinger joined Mirixa in 2008 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... SunView Software aims to ... that are both engaging and easy to use. Coming off the heels of ... revealed today its plans to roll out new AI-powered self-service enhancements to help ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... California Senate Bill (SB) 863, signed into ... claim in 2013 and 2014, according to CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks for California, 17th ... According to the study, medical payments per claim in California decreased 4 percent in ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... services from offices headquartered in Hamilton County, is embarking on a charity drive ... specializes in finding new homes for orphaned or neglected senior dogs in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... , Dec. 9, 2016  RxWiki Inc., a digital ... digital marketing strategies of thousands of pharmacies through its ... Austin Inno,s "50 on Fire" Award in ... "We,re pleased to accept the award as one of ... Chief Executive Officer at RxWiki. "Our platform gives independent ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 IRIDEX Corporation (NASDAQ: ... newly issued shares of common stock, $0.01 par value (the ... underwritten public offering.  The final terms of the Offering will ... pricing, and there can be no assurance as to whether ... expects to use the net proceeds it will receive from ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Global Interventional ... on the global interventional radiology market analyzes the ... report comprises an elaborate executive summary, including a ... segments and sub-segments. The research is a ... formed the bulk of our research efforts along ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: