S-FLU: Broad spectrum flu protection with superior safety and delivery profile

Oxford researchers have developed S-FLU, a novel live attenuated influenza virus vaccine that could be used safely in the face of a new pandemic strain of influenza, and for seasonal strains. S-FLU has been uniquely engineered with the ability to provide broad T cell-based protection across type-A viruses, the constantly changing form of influenza responsible for both seasonal flu and the vast majority of epidemics. Furthermore, risks associated with genetic transmission from the vaccine virus into seasonal flu has been eliminated, and efficacy is comparable to FluMist®, the best-in-class licensed live attenuated influenza vaccine.

Proactive pandemic prevention

An influenza pandemic remains a persistent threat to world health. While bespoke vaccines can be developed following the emergence of a novel strain, it would be a significant benefit to have a universal vaccine that could provide immunity across all influenza strains to proactively limit both pathology and viral transmission. While live vaccines represent the most effective approach to achieve this goal, they carry the inherent risk of transferring their genetic information to a circulating seasonal virus, which could render this strain highly virulent and inadvertently cause a pandemic.

A live vaccine without the risks

S-FLU is a novel live attenuated influenza virus vaccine that has been engineered with the unique ability to provide broad T cell-based protection across type-A viruses, the constantly changing form of influenza responsible for both seasonal flu and the vast majority of epidemics.

Key facts

  • Suppression of haemagglutinin signal sequence expression enables infection without replication
  • Generates a T-cell mediated immune response shown to protect mice and ferrets from a broad range of type-A influenza strains
  • Efficacy comparable to FluMist®, the best-in-class licensed live attenuated influenza vaccine
  • Risks associated with genetic transmission eliminated
  • Optimal lung delivery is safe and feasible via small droplet aerosol
  • Lower cost manufacture in mammalian cell lines
  • Generates a strong neutralising antibody response to coating glycoproteins

This novel approach to influenza vaccination represents a breakthrough in exploiting the enduring and broad-spectrum benefits of live vaccination, yet without the serious risks of a full-blown infection or viral gene transfer.

Innovative vaccine opportunity and patent protection

It is envisaged that S-FLU will be of interest to companies wishing to strengthen their vaccination portfolio, or those looking to use S-FLU to enter the growing billion-dollar influenza therapeutics market.

Oxford University Innovation has filed a patent application, published as PCT/GB2012/052341, covering S-FLU, and would like to speak to companies interested in licensing this exciting technology.

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