Sanofi, Pitt team to develop universal seasonal flu vaccine
Sanofi Pasteur will join University of Pittsburgh scientists to develop a vaccine for all strains of seasonal influenza that will take as little as four months to produce.
The vaccination will be available as both a nasal spray and injection to the arm, and will potentially cover influenza strains making the rounds over multiple seasons. This could eliminate the need for an annual flu vaccination, according to a release.
Scientists will develop a synthetic vaccine, using a genetic sequence of flu viruses. Sanofi Pasteur has exclusive access to the university's vaccine technology and will develop and market any product created. The vaccine will take only four months to produce, as opposed to the traditional near year taken by vaccines.
"Many people will embrace the opportunity of getting a single shot of vaccine to prevent flu--and its potentially deadly consequences--for a lifetime," said Arthur Levine, University of Pittsburgh senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the school of medicine. "With this outstanding effort, the CVR has accomplished its mission of improving health on a global scale by studying the world's most dangerous infections."
Seasonal influenza kills more than 36,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000 more each year in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. Protecting people from a wider variety of strains of influenza will hopefully reduce those numbers.