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Article Released Wed-24th-September-2008 17:41 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Safeguarding flu vaccination for the future

A new approach to improving vaccine supplies in the event of an influenza pandemic is reported

PRESS RELEASE FROM MUCOSAL IMMUNOLOGY
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Safeguarding flu vaccination for the future
DOI: 10.1038/mi2008.59

A new approach to improving vaccine supplies in the event of an influenza pandemic is reported online in Mucosal Immunology this week. The study compares delivery methods of the current vaccine in an animal model and shows that a lower dose delivered to the site of infection, gives better protection against influenza than the normal dose as it is currently delivered.

One of the most serious challenges facing human health today is preparing for the next influenza pandemic. Influenza is a major global health issue; in the USA alone influenza infections are associated with an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalisations each year.

Mucosal surfaces are linked by an integrated immune system, and protection at mucosal surfaces may be best induced by vaccination at these same sites. Despite this, the vast majorities of approved vaccines are delivered by injection and induce predominantly systemic immunity, even when targeting mucosal pathogens. Philip Sutton and colleagues used a sheep model to test whether immunization at the site of influenza infection, directly in to the lung could improve protection. They found that compared to the currently available vaccine, significantly lower doses of vaccine delivered directly to the lung resulted in better protection against subsequent influenza infection. This finding may have significant implications in the event of a pandemic when vaccine supplies may not meet demand.

Author contacts:
Dr Philip Sutton (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Tel: +61 3 8344 7152; E-mail: psutton@unimelb.edu.au

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Alison Wrigley (Nature Publishing Group, London)
Tel: +44 207 843 4793; E-mail: a.wrigley@nature.com

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Ruth Francis (Nature London)
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Mika Nakano (Nature Tokyo)
Tel: +81 3 3267 8751; E-mail: m.nakano@natureasia.com

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Mucosal Immunology

Keywords associated to this article: flu vaccines
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