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U.S. Funds Intranasal Pandemic Influenza RNA Vaccine Development

December 14, 2021 • 11:18 am CST
(Precision Vaccinations)

The Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) announced today a contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) DRIVe's "Beyond the Needle" program to develop an intranasally delivered RNA vaccine for pandemic influenza.

BARDA entered into a contract with IDRI to develop an intranasal RNA vaccine platform with long-term storage stability using Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian H5N1 influenza as an initial proof-of-concept target.

Developing an intranasally administered flu vaccine using IDRI's RNA vaccine platform could improve RNA vaccine protection against respiratory viruses, remove the need for the deep cold chain that makes RNA vaccines inaccessible to low-and-middle-income countries, and alleviate fears in needle-hesitant individuals.

This pandemic virus was first detected in 1996 in geese in China.

Asian H5N1 was detected in humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong and has since been detected in poultry and wild birds in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

And six countries are now considered endemic for the Asian HPAI H5N1 virus in poultry (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam).

For example, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection confirmed on December 11, 2021; China reported its 28th human H5N6 avian flu infection during 2021.

And, the annual 'flu shot' does not prevent avian influenza infections in humans, says the U.S. CDC. 

IDRI intends to deliver results of its BARDA-funded research as project milestones are met throughout the 2-year contract and plans to build on this work to make potent RNA vaccines cheaper and easier to manufacture, store, ship, and administer worldwide.

IDRI is a nonprofit biotech organization located in Seattle, Washington, combining high-quality scientific research with product development and manufacturing capabilities to help combat some of the world's deadliest diseases, including COVID-19. 

Additional Avian influenza vaccine news is published on this Precision Vaccinations webpage.