Adam Wheatley (NIAID)
Gwo-Yu Chuang (NIAID)
James Whittle (NIAID)
John Mascola (NIAID)
Michael Joyce (NIAID)
Paul Thomas (NIAID)
Peter Kwong (NIAID)
Robert Bailer (NIAID)
Sarah Andrews (NIAID)
Yi Zhang (NIAID)
The effectiveness of current influenza vaccines varies by strain and season, in part because influenza viruses continuously evolve to evade human immune responses. While the majority of seasonal influenza infections cause relatively mild symptoms, each year influenza virus infections result in over 500,000 hospitalizations in the United States and Europe. Current standard of care for individuals hospitalized with uncomplicated influenza infection is administration of neuraminidase inhibitors. However, frequent use of such antiviral drugs increases the risk that the virus will develop drug resistance, especially in high-risk populations. Thus, alternative strategies are required to protect or treat vulnerable populations who have been hospitalized with severe influenza.
Using a combination of recombinant proteins and sophisticated flow cytometry, scientists at NIAID isolated families of antibodies capable of neutralizing diverse group 1 and group 2 influenza A viruses. Specifically, the families of antibodies identified precisely target parts of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein, present on the surface of the influenza virus, that are least variable from season to season (Joyce, M.G., et al. Cell (2016) 166 (3): 609-623). Therefore, it is hypothesized that passive administration of members of these families of antibodies to individuals would represent an alternative to the current standard of care for severe influenza virus infection. Additionally, these families of antibodies could be useful for development of a product aimed at conferring passive immunity in vulnerable populations during the time of an outbreak or emergence of a pandemic strain of influenza.
This technology is available for licensing for commercial development in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 209 and 37 CFR Part 404, as well as for further development and evaluation under a research collaboration.
NIAID is continuing development of these neutralizing antibodies to influenza toward a clinical product for treatment and/or prevention of influenza virus infection. Consequently, for some fields of use, NIAID will evaluate a license applicant’s capabilities and experience in advancing similar technologies through the regulatory process.
- Prevention of influenza A virus infection
- Therapeutic intervention to treat influenza infection
- Ability to potently neutralize both group 1 and group 2 influenza A strains