Novavax VLP vax works against 1918 Spanish flu

Novavax says that a virus-like particle vaccine it developed was successful in guarding against both the deadly 1918 Spanish flu strain as well as an H5N1 strain in a preclinical study.

Researchers vaccinated mice and ferrets with VLPs by one of two routes: either by standard intramuscular injection or by administering a small drop of the VLP vaccine in the nose. All of the 1918 VLP-immunized animals were protected when exposed to a lethal dose of the 1918 influenza virus, regardless of the route by which the vaccine was administered.

"Unlike other non-live influenza vaccines, the VLPs are uniquely positioned to stimulate immunity through multiple mechanisms," said Dr. Penny Heaton, the chief medical officer at Novavax. "First, they contain HA protein that is the same structure as the live virus, which may stimulate HA antibodies of several types that not only prevent the virus from attaching to cells but also prevent the virus from fusing with cells. Second, the VLPs contain NA which may stimulate production of antibody that prevents spread of the virus down the respiratory tract. Finally, the structure of the HA and NA proteins and the way in which they are embedded in lipids on the surface of the VLP may activate the innate immune system providing protection against both the H1N1 and H5N1 strains."

- check out the Novavax release