Inovio Pharmaceuticals‘ SynCon vaccine, which targets multi-strains of influenza, has received patent protection from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The firm said its universal vaccine, INO-3510, is likely to set the trend for a new generation of vaccines targeting various strains of a given virus.
Existing influenza vaccines are available around the world but only target single strains of the bug, which is responsible for 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year according to the World Health Organization.
Each year the US Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration selects two strains of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes) and one strain of influenza B that will be targeted by next season’s flu vaccine.
The flu virus, however, can easily evolve into a more dangerous unanticipated strain and lead to a deadly outbreak.
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Inovio’s vaccine is DNA-driven, and utilises sequences that provide immunity against synthetic proteins that are typical of different strains of flu viruses.
INO-3510 is designed to immunise against both the common influenza A subtype H1N1 as well as H5N1, a subtype with pandemic potential.
The vaccine is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials with data expected in Q2, 2012.
Caption: SynCon is expected to set a trend for vaccines that target multi-strains of a virus. Credit: iyaphantawong