May 22, 2024

New Recombinant Flu Vaccine ‘Hexaplex’ Shows Potential to Boost Protection

A recent study led by the University at Buffalo has introduced a promising development in the field of flu vaccines – the ‘Hexaplex’ vaccine. In a research article published in Cell Reports Medicine, the UB-led team presents the potential of a novel recombinant flu vaccine to enhance protection against influenza viruses.

Traditional flu vaccines are typically based on either inactivated flu viruses or weakened forms of the disease, produced using methods involving chicken eggs or cell cultures. In contrast, recombinant protein vaccines, exemplified by the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, offer advantages such as precise production, enhanced safety, and potentially greater effectiveness with smaller doses.

According to Jonathan Lovell, Ph.D., the study’s senior co-author and SUNY Empire Innovation Professor at UB, the variability of influenza viruses poses a challenge for current vaccines in providing optimal protection across the population. The UB-led team’s vaccine candidate aims to address this by inducing stronger and broader immunity, ultimately reducing the incidence of illness and mortality associated with influenza.

The vaccine developed by the research team is based on a nanoliposome called CoPoP, allowing immune-stimulating proteins to be displayed on its surface. The study incorporated six proteins, including hemagglutinins and neuraminidases, into the nanoliposome design along with adjuvants to enhance immune response.

In animal models infected with common flu strains, the hexaplex nanoliposome demonstrated superior protection and survival rates against H1N1 and H3N2 compared to existing vaccines like Flublok and Fluaid. Notably, the vaccine’s efficacy in producing functional antibodies and activating T cells – essential components for combating serious flu infections – showcased promising results in the study.

Additionally, the application of the CoPoP platform in COVID-19 vaccine trials in South Korea and the Philippines, conducted through a collaboration between UB spinoff company POP Biotechnologies and South Korean biotech firm EuBiologics, highlights the versatility and potential of this innovative vaccine technology.

Bruce Davidson, Ph.D., a senior co-author of the study, emphasized the importance of incorporating multiple antigens in vaccine formulations to achieve broader immunity and optimize dose efficiency amid potential outbreaks. While further testing and validation are necessary, the early findings of the hexaplex vaccine present a hopeful prospect for advancing flu prevention strategies in the future.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it