Vaccine Development Software Shows Promise in Influenza Effort, could Help Defeat Coronavirus

A novel computer algorithm that could create a broadly reactive influenza vaccine for swine flu also offers a path toward a pan-influenza vaccine and possibly a pan-coronavirus vaccine as well, according to a new paper published in Nature Communications.

"This work takes us a step closer to a pan-swine flu virus vaccine," said Bette Korber, a computational biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a co-author on the paper. "The hope is to eventually be prepared with an effective and rapid response if another swine flu epidemic begins to spread in humans, but this swine flu vaccine could also be useful in a veterinary setting." The immune responses to the vaccine showed very promising breadth against diverse viral variants. "The same basic principles may be applicable to developing a pan-coronavirus vaccine to enable a rapid vaccine response to future coronavirus cross-species jumps," said Korber.

The algorithm, Epigraph, has already been used to predict therapeutic HIV vaccine candidates, and it has also shown promising potential as a pan-filovirus vaccine against highly diverse Ebola and Marburg viruses, protecting against disease when tested in an animal model.

Vaccination with the Epigraph-designed product led to the development of a strong cross-reactive antibody response in mice, the study showed. In swine, it induced strong cross-reactive antibody and T-cell responses. The research was conducted in close collaboration with researchers from the Nebraska Center for Virology at the University of Nebraska, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

"We developed the Epigraph strategy for this kind of problem, and it can, in theory, be applied to many diverse pathogens," said Korber, who created it in partnership with her husband, James Theiler, a Los Alamos Fellow. "The tool creates a cocktail of vaccine antigens designed to maximize efficacy across a highly diverse population."

Since 2010, more than 460 swine-flu variant infections have been reported in humans in the United States. Pigs are susceptible to swine, avian, and human influenza viruses, making them the perfect "mixing vessel" for novel reassorted influenza viruses, the authors note. These novel reassorted viruses have significant pandemic potential if zoonosis (transfer from pigs to humans) occurs, as seen with 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

Bullard, B.L., Corder, B.N., DeBeauchamp, J. et al.
Epigraph hemagglutinin vaccine induces broad cross-reactive immunity against swine H3 influenza virus.
Nat Commun 12, 2021. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21508-6

Most Popular Now

FDA Authorizes Software that Can Help Id…

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized marketing of software to assist medical professionals who examine body tissues (pathologists) in the detection of areas that are suspicious for cancer...

Orion Health Supports Professional Recor…

Orion Health is supporting the Professional Record Standards Body's partnership scheme by applying to become a 'quality partner'. The company, which is one of the UK’s leading providers of shared care...

Roche Opens Access to Pathology Imaging …

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced the introduction of the Roche Digital Pathology Open Environment that allows software developers to easily integrate their image analysis tools for tumour tissue...

App Launched in Multiple Languages to He…

An app is being launched to help patients with long term conditions manage their health via care plans accessed on their phone. Unity, by mobile health provider, Health Fabric, will...

Northumbria Healthcare Picks CliniSys to…

Pathologists at one of England's most innovative trusts have chosen the CliniSys laboratory information system (LIMS) as part of a digital strategy to support its drive to continually improve patient...

A Computer Algorithm Called 'Eva' May Ha…

A prescriptive computer program developed by the USC Marshall School of Business and Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania for Greece to identify asymptomatic, infected travelers...

Contact-Tracing Apps could Improve Vacci…

Mathematical modeling of disease spread suggests that herd immunity could be achieved with fewer vaccine doses by using Bluetooth-based contact-tracing apps to identify people who have more exposure to others...

University of Oxford and Oracle Cloud Sy…

The fast spread of the highly infectious Delta variant underscores the need for faster identification of COVID-19 mutations. Uniting governments and medical communities in this challenge, the University of Oxford...

Study Finds Telemedicine Appointments Re…

Telemedicine appointments combined with in-person visits significantly reduced the risk of further illness for children with medically complex cases, according to results of a new study by researchers with The...

AI Tool Improves Accuracy of Breast Canc…

A computer program trained to see patterns among thousands of breast ultrasound images can aid physicians in accurately diagnosing breast cancer, a new study shows. When tested separately on 44,755 already...

Using Internet in Retirement Boosts Cogn…

Using the internet during your retirement years can boost your cognitive function, a new study has found. Researchers from Lancaster University Management School, the Norwegian University Science and Technology and...

FDA Clears First Major Imaging Device Ad…

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the first new major technological improvement for Computed Tomography (CT) imaging in nearly a decade. "Computed tomography is an important medical imaging tool...