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Major funding for flu vaccine project

King’s College London, as part of the UniVacFlu Consortium of leading European researchers, has received a prestigious EU Marie Curie ITN award [total 4.2 million Euros] for a project which will train the next generation of influenza vaccine researchers.

Influenza virus infections remain a major cause of mortality within Europe and the rest of the world, and together the economic cost and health care burden are significant even when only considering seasonal outbreaks. The advent of an influenza virus pandemic has a significant potential to dramatically increase loss of life and place a huge strain upon health care systems.

The overall aim of the UniVacFlu Consortium -which includes researchers from UK, Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy, is to establish a European training programme in influenza A vaccine development, providing the next generation of vaccine developers with skilled young vaccine researchers and entrepreneurs.

The four-year project builds on the Consortium’s technology platforms to develop vaccines based on the conserved proteins of influenza virus that have the potential to induce immunity against all current and future influenza A viruses.  Most importantly, this approach will remove the need for annual vaccination.  Additionally, the vaccine will be combined the vaccine with the use of a novel adjuvant component which will increase the overall effectiveness of the vaccine.

These vaccine designs are coupled with novel approaches for enhanced vaccine delivery including the injection free vaccination techniques, led by King’s Department of Immunology. 

King’s Immunologist, Dr Linda Klavinskis, says: “With the critical issues challenging influenza A prevention in mind, the consortium is focusing on the development of the next generation of influenza vaccines, identifying biomarkers for long term protective immunity and to train the next generation of vaccine researchers in experimental and theoretical methods in vaccine development.”  

Training will range from vaccine antigen design concepts to pre-clinical and clinical testing as well as principles of vaccine manufacturing.

Injection free vaccination techniques research paper in PNAS.

 

Contact linda.klavinskis@kcl.ac.uk regarding postdoctoral and PhD training opportunities.