The next generation of vaccines could be in a clinical trial in a matter of weeks, a major breakthrough that could change the future of the global pandemic.
The team at the University of Washington and other partners have developed a novel virus that mimics the properties of influenza viruses.
“It’s the first virus that actually resembles influenza viruses,” said lead researcher Chris Meech, a postdoctoral fellow in UW’s Department of Engineering and Applied Science.
“And it’s designed to have the same virus properties.”
Meech and his colleagues have been working to create a vaccine for the pandemic since 2009.
The team is in the process of completing clinical trials and preparing for a pivotal decision about the efficacy of their vaccine.
But the vaccine may take longer than expected to be ready.
“We have been trying to develop a vaccine in our lab,” Mee, an associate professor of chemical engineering, said.
“This vaccine will be ready for phase one trials.
But it will be much longer than that.”
The researchers first developed the vaccine in the lab using a virus known as the influenza A(H3N2)2 protein.
The proteins were originally discovered to be able to produce an antiviral effect against a wide variety of viruses.
But Meeich and his team found that the influenza protein itself is not enough to produce that effect.
The researchers had to look at how the proteins interact with the other proteins that make up the virus and how they interact with a receptor called an RNAi.
The researchers created an RNA virus, RNAi and RNA vaccine using the same molecule, called a peptide, Mee chan said.
This molecule is made up of a polymer molecule and is called a glycoprotein.
The proteins attach to RNAi to help the RNAi fold up, which allows it to grow.
They also bind to RNA and other RNA molecules that surround the protein, which helps to prevent the RNA molecules from falling out.
“So, when they bind to a receptor, they’re able to make the protein fold up,” M, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering who works with the team, said, adding that this helps to keep the proteins from falling apart.
Mee says the RNA virus itself has been known for some time.
In 2008, he and his co-workers showed that RNA was able to infect and kill a virus in a petri dish.
But in recent years, the researchers have been able to figure out how to produce viruses that mimic the properties that they have found in influenza viruses, M, who has a master’s degree in molecular biology and immunology, said in a phone interview.
“One of the things we found is that it’s not just a virus-like virus.
It’s also a receptor-like viral protein,” M said.”
And it is a receptor protein that is able to respond to influenza viruses.”
The new virus was designed to mimic the viral properties of the flu A(1,2,4) protein.
Mee says it mimics that protein’s ability to bind to and kill RNA.
“Our team has been able not only to design a virus that can mimic the influenza virus, but we have also designed a virus with the ability to interact with that viral protein, the receptor,” he said.
The scientists found that when they injected the RNA vaccine into mice, they observed a reduction in the production of the viral protein that was not seen in mice that did not receive the vaccine.
The reduction in flu protein production was seen in the nucleus, which is where the virus lives.
“What we saw was that the receptor protein was not working as well,” M told Fortune.
“It’s very difficult to get that protein to work when you’re injecting it into mice.”
He and his research team were also able to demonstrate that the vaccine was able with a higher dose of virus than the amount that the virus was able at.
Mees said the vaccine had the ability of killing up to 100 percent of the influenza viruses that the mice had been exposed to.
And when the team injected a higher number of influenza virus into the mice, it was able as well to kill up to 90 percent of them.
“There’s been some preliminary evidence that has shown that this vaccine works against influenza,” Mees said.
However, the vaccine is not designed to work against the more commonly encountered flu viruses.
Instead, it works against strains of influenza that are more commonly found in the United States.
“The virus has a high survival rate in humans,” MEE said.
He added that this is because it is highly resistant to a variety of treatments, including antibiotics.MEE said the team plans to conduct phase two clinical trials for their vaccine in people with influenza-like illness.
And if all goes well, the scientists hope to eventually start testing this vaccine in humans in order to see if it works in a larger population.