Monday, July 13, 2009

Inovio Biomedical H1N1 DNA Vaccines


Here's an interesting heading: "Inovio Biomedical H1N1 Influenza DNA Vaccines Demonstrate 100% Responses Against Swine Flu in Vaccinated Pigs." I realize that we're not pigs, but this vaccine may be quite effective in humans too. Here are some interesting bits from a recent press release:
Dr. Niranjan Sardesai, Senior VP, Research & Development, presented the data at the Annual Conference of DNA Vaccines in Asia 2009 held in Beijing, China, July 9-10, 2009, in a presentation entitled, “Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza DNA Vaccines Delivered Via Electroporation.”

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s CEO, said, “Our innovative SynCon™ technology has the potential to protect people from influenza strains not exactly like the ones that make up the existing vaccines. This is a clear advantage for our universal flu program over conventional influenza vaccines. We are pleased to report our H1N1 preclinical results using pigs, a more natural model for the current influenza pandemic. We look forward to advancing our SynCon™ universal flu vaccine program toward clinical investigation.”

In this study, scientists immunized pigs with consensus H1N1 influenza DNA vaccine candidates on day 0, day 14, and day 28. Sera collected on day 28 and day 42, after two or three doses of vaccine, respectively, showed hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers above the protection threshold in 100% of the vaccinated animals against a swine H1N1 virus previously isolated from pigs. On-going additional animal studies are testing the ability of Inovio’s SynCon™ human H1N1 and swine H1N1 based vaccines to cross-protect from currently circulating human and swine H1N1 viruses as well as the new influenza A/H1N1 of swine origin.

In a similar collaborative study with scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Pennsylvania, Inovio previously demonstrated that mice immunized with Inovio’s SynCon™ H1N1 DNA vaccine provided 100% protection in a lethal challenge study against an unmatched H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed over 40 million people worldwide.

Inovio’s novel SynCon™ technology enables the company to design DNA-based vaccines with the potential to protect against unmatched sub-types and strains of pathogens. Inovio has created SynCon™ DNA vaccines based on influenza HA, NA, and NP proteins that are common to strains H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, and H5N1, which make up the majority of seasonal and pandemic influenza. Using a designer approach, Inovio can formulate these DNA plasmids together to rapidly develop a universal influenza vaccine potentially targeting all these strains. The resulting vaccine could target seasonal as well as pandemic-potential influenza strains such as avian influenza and swine flu, which has already been designated pandemic status. Significantly, being based on a common set of antigens derived from a broad range of flu strains, such a universal vaccine would have the potential to provide greater protection against evolving, unmatched flu strains.
The fall is quickly approaching. Let's hope that we have enough H1N1 vaccine to go around the world so that we don't suffer mass fatalities from this swine flu pandemic.

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