Influenza Vaccine Approaches Essay

1017 words - 5 pages

Influenza is one of the viruses that spread very fast and impacts a lot of people around the globe. At any given year, 20% of the population in the US is expected to develop influenza pandemic (Palese and García-Sastre, 2002). In the US alone, there are more than 30,000 deaths a year just from influenza (Yang et al., 2013). Influenza virus is from the family Orthomyxoviridae with two main strains: Influenza A and B are the most common once to cause disease in human and they can be both circulating at the same time (Samji, 2009). This will mean there is a need for the development of a new vaccine against both strains every year to protect people from getting the flu. These two strains of influenza share the same genome that contains eight RNAs of negative sense polarity (Palese and García-Sastre, 2002). Also, influenza virus is an enveloped virus. The envelope is made up of lipid bilayer that contains three of the viral transmembrane proteins: hemagglutinin HA, neuraminidase NA, and matrix 2 M2 (Samji, 2009). Among these proteins, HA is the most abundant type of viral proteins in the viral envelope followed by NA then M2. One of the problems with controlling this virus is related to the fact that the proteins HA and NA are changing each year by single point mutations (aka antigenetic drift) (Yang et al., 2013). The life cycle of the virus is evolved around its survival and making more copies of itself. When influenza virus infects the host, the viral RNA proteins (vRNPs) enter the nucleus of the host and transcription and replication of the viral genome will start (Samji, 2009). Then the vRNPs is exported from the nucleus and start to assemble in the host’s cell plasma membrane (Samji, 2009). There are several approaches taken to develop influenza vaccines that are both effective and have reasonable side effects. In this paper, vaccine designing approaches are further explained and discussed with respect to their effectiveness, side effects and other aspects that could make one approach more successful than another. Some of the approaches mentioned are not yet approved but the experimental results are promising.
Intramuscularly administered trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) is one of the most common used to protect from the flu in the US (Yang et al., 2013). This vaccine requires large amount of starting materials and take long time for its production, which sometimes is hard to accept when there is a higher rate of influenza infections (Pica and Palese, 2013). Also, they don’t induce the cell-mediated immunity, which is important for the protection process (Yang et al., 2013). It has only 59% efficiency in US adult populations that fall in the age groups between 18-65 years (Yang et al., 2013).
Most of the commercial vaccines are designed to elicit the immune response to the main antigenic driver of the influenza virus, which is HA. The main target of the antibodies is the receptor binding areas of the HA to...

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