A therapeutic vaccine platform for treating influenza viruses

Value Proposition

Influenza virus infections represent a substantial global burden on human health. Each year, it is estimated that influenza viruses cause up to 5 million severe infections globally, resulting in up to 645,000 mortalities. In 2018, patient care and productivity loss due to influenza infection cost an estimated $11.2 billion in the U.S. alone. Of the four FDA approved drugs currently recommended by the CDC as antivirals for treating the flu, all of them are susceptible to antiviral drug resistance. There is a need for influenza treatments that minimize the chances of antiviral drug resistance.

Technology

Duke researchers have developed a therapeutic vaccine platform capable of treating influenza A viruses (IAV). This is intended to be used when vaccines or anti-viral drugs become ineffective due to acquisition of viral resistance mutations. The research team has developed self-propagating influenza-based virus-like particles that harbor additional (9th or 10th) genomic segments designed to interfere with genomic assembly of circulating influenza viruses. When co-infection with these 9 and 10 segmented influenza viruses and a wild-type influenza virus occurs, cross-packaging of genome segments between the two viruses leads to the production of non-viable particles and halts viral spread. Mouse studies demonstrated that this therapy resulted in a 100% survival rate after treatment with a normally lethal dose of the PR8 influenza strain.

Advantages

  • A cost effective and scalable method to generate effective anti-influenza therapeutics
  • Difficult or even impossible to result in viral resistant mutations
  • May be particularly useful for protection against respiratory and mucosal pathogens