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PhD defence E. van Doorn

When:Fr 26-01-2018 16:15 - 17:45
Where:Academy Building

Improving influenza prevention. Why universal influenza vaccines are needed

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent flu. Currently, the flu vaccine has to be updated annually due to antigenic drift of the virus. Despite the yearly update, the vaccine effectiveness varies per season, per country, and even per influenza (sub)type/lineage. Efforts are being made to develop flu vaccines that give the population broad protection against multiple influenza virus strains (a ‘universal’ flu vaccine).

In her thesis Eva van Doorn has estimated the flu vaccine effectiveness over 11 seasons in the Netherlands. The effectiveness was particularly low when the vaccine did not match with the circulating viruses and when influenza A(H3N2) was the dominant virus subtype. The incorporation of an adjuvant can increase the efficacy of a flu vaccine. However, there should be an acceptable balance between the beneficial effects on the immune response and the risk adverse events. The safety and tolerability of adjuvants that are currently being tested in pre-registration clinical trials for (universal) influenza vaccines was evaluated. Van Doorn advises caution especially when using Montanide ISA 51. In addition, she has investigated the differences in the approval procedure for a vaccine trial in five European countries. A more harmonized procedure is desirable, especially for multinational trials, since the differences in e.g. the documents that should be submitted and the submission procedure. Finally, a clinical trial has been conducted to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of a universal influenza vaccine (Multimeric-001, M-001). The vaccine was proven to be safe and able to increase CD4+ cells. Such an elevation is associated with less severe illness. Future studies are needed to assess the ability of M-001 to reduce the incidence of influenza infections.

Promotores: Prof.dr E. Hak and Prof.dr. A.L.W. Huckriede