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Home > News > Global Health Matters > Global Health Matters May/Jun 2019 > NIAID begins human trials of universal flu vaccine candidate Print

NIAID begins human trials of universal flu vaccine candidate

May / June 2019 | Volume 18, Number 3

Colorized structure of a prototype for a universal flu vaccine. Nanoparticle is a hybrid of a protein scaffold (blue) and influenza hemagglutinin proteins on the surface (yellow).
Image courtesy NIAID

Prototype for a universal flu vaccine.

The first clinical trial of an innovative universal influenza vaccine candidate began this spring and will examine the vaccine’s safety and tolerability as well as its ability to induce an immune response. Scientists at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) developed the experimental vaccine, known as H1ssF_3928.

The vaccine candidate is designed to teach the body to make protective immune responses against diverse influenza subtypes by focusing the immune system on a portion of the virus that varies relatively little from strain to strain. The vaccine candidate was developed as part of a broader research agenda to create a so-called “universal” influenza vaccine that can provide long-lasting protection for all age groups from multiple influenza subtypes, including those that might cause a pandemic.

Annual flu epidemics worldwide are estimated to sicken 3 to 5 million people each year, resulting in as many as 650,000 deaths, according to the WHO.

NIAID expects the clinical trial to complete enrollment by the end of 2019 and hopes to begin reporting results in early 2020. For more information about the trial, visit ClinicalTrials.gov and search identifier NCT03814720.

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