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The end of seasonal flu shots? The Duke Vaccine Institute wins $ 400 million in funding to develop alternative



DURHAM – Can the end of seasonal influenza be seen? It is possible if Duke's researchers have their way.

The Ducal Vaccine Institute (DHVI) has contracted multiple contracts worth up to $ 400 million over seven years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to process the flu vaccine,

from NIAID's national drive to develop a longer-lasting, broader protective vaccine to replace seasonal influenza.

If exercised on the options of all three treaties, it would be the largest federal multilateral award supporting a program in Duke history.

"[DHVI] has long been a world leader in the research and development of life-saving vaccines, and these exceptional contracts will enhance the institute's efforts to develop innovative solutions to one of the most common and unsolvable health challenges we face today," in a statement, Duke University President Vincent E. Price. titute GMP production facility. Credit: Shawn Rocco

Current flu vaccines do not protect against all variants of the virus. As such, new formulations are required each year based on projections of what is likely to circulate during the flu season.

Authorities say a more versatile protective vaccine could reduce the number of flu that kills 300,000 to 500,000 people worldwide each year and causes up to 5 million cases of serious infection, often resulting in costly hospitalizations.

Duke is the only institution to receive a contract for each of the three components of CIVICs. These include: designing and evaluating influenza vaccine approaches, manufacturing and evaluating the safety and toxicity of vaccine platforms, and conducting clinical trials on influenza vaccines.

The first contract, involving the development of vaccines, $ 7.9 million in funding for the first year with funding of up to $ 1

07.5 million over seven years, involves conducting basic immunology and virology studies to identify potential applicants for vaccine.

Dr. M. Anthony Moody, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Immunology at Duke School of Medicine, who is managing the project, said some of this work has already been completed and applicants are already in dispute. For that part, Duke's contract includes working with Boston Children's Hospital, MGH's Ragon Institute, MIT and Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas.

The second contract, $ 13.8 million in funding for the first year and estimated at $ 116.7 million over seven years, if all options are used, is for vaccine production and will be led by Matthew R. Johnson, Ph.D. of Science, Senior Director of Product Development at DHVI.

The third DHVI contract, $ 7.9 million in funding for the first year and estimated at up to $ 176.6 million over seven years, if used to the fullest, provides funding for clinical trials testing vaccine applicants developed through the CIVICs program. Duke is one of two centers that receive contracts for clinical trials.

The principal investigator of the clinical trial contract is Emmanuel Chip Walter, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine and chief medical officer at DHVI. This phase will test promising vaccines in small groups of healthy adult participants.

Successful vaccine applicants may eventually be advanced to larger clinical trials and studies on human challenges in healthy adults and people at high risk of the most serious flu complications, including children, pregnant women and adults.

"We have a wide range of researchers and expertise that has put DHVI at the forefront of vaccine development," Walter said in a statement, citing results from the center for HIV vaccine development. as much as the flu. Responding to the 2009 pandemic flu, he said the DHVI team had been involved in testing the vaccine before being used in the general population.


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