Pandemic H5N1 Influenza Vaccine development: An Update

Hana M El Sahly; Wendy A Keitel


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008;7(2):241-247. 

In This Article

Five-year View

Pandemic influenza vaccine research is a much more complex field now, with various approaches being evaluated to improve the safety and immunogenicity of candidate vaccines. Efforts to date have resulted in the licensure/registration of several H5N1 vaccines. Newer approaches are under development, such as cell culture-grown vaccines, DNA vaccines, recombinant HA vaccines, live-attenuated vaccines and vaccines targeting conserved influenza proteins, such as the nucleoprotein and the M2 protein. One or more of these approaches may yield a promising vaccine that can be included in the stockpile. Additional studies evaluating the role of priming against drifted H5N1 variants are in development. These studies are particularly critical, in view of the rapidity with which H5N1 strains evolve and how little time the vaccine manufacturers and public-health authorities will have to prime the public against a pandemic H5N1 influenza strain, if and when it occurs. Given the unpredictability of the pandemic and the empiric, specific nature of these clinical trials, pandemic preparedness is still far from complete and efforts at monitoring disease in animals and humans, establishing scientific cooperation between various countries and establishing an efficient plan/network for massive early response and prevention must continue and accelerate. The benefit of such efforts will be reaped by the societies involved, regardless of the strain responsible for the next pandemic.


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