New computer algorithm offers pathway to develop pan-influenza vaccine, possibly coronavirus too

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Updated: Mar 03, 2021 3:35 PM

Can a computer algorithm be the answer to a pan-influenza vaccine? Possibly yes, says a new paper published in Nature Communications journal.

epigraph, computer program pan-influenza vaccine, Nature Communications journal, US Department of Energy, computational biology, covid vaccinationNew research to find pan-infuenza vaccine. (Representational image, Pixabay)

Can a computer algorithm be the answer to a pan-influenza vaccine? Possibly yes, says a new paper published in Nature Communications journal. The novel computer program can create a reactive influenza vaccine for swine flu and is also indicative of how creating a pan-influence vaccine that suffices for kinds of viral infections, even coronavirus.

The algorithm termed epigraph has earlier been helpful in finding out candidates with therapeutic HIV vaccine and also can show the pathway to develop a vaccine for Marburg or Ebola viruses when used on an animal model. The vaccine created following the Epigraph pathway showed the development of strong cross-reactive antibodies in mice. The same exercise developed antibody and T-cell responses in swine.

An author of the research paper belonging to Los Alamos, which functions under the US Department of Energy, Bette Korber said the novel algorithm can in theory be applied to a diverse range of pathogens and using its tool vaccine makers can create a ‘cocktail of vaccines’ that can maximize efficacy across a diverse population.

Korber who developed the algorithm with her husband James Theiler said that this pathway will the world prepared for another swine flu epidemic both for human and animal setting. The immune response that the vaccine creates is promising against various kinds of viruses. In the long run, the computational biologist is hopeful that it will create a pan-coronavirus vaccine for future coronavirus mutations.

Since pigs are susceptible to all kinds of pathogen attacks like swine flu, Avian flu and human influenza, they serve as the perfect “mixing vessel” to carry research on novel reassorted viruses, the study notes. This cocktail of viruses has the potential of affecting humans from pigs and be the reason for another pandemic as seen with HiN1 swine flue in 2009.

Other institutes that collaborated with Los Alamos National Laboratory are the Nebraska Center for Virology at the University of Nebraska and the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. One can access the entire study titled Epigraph hemagglutinin vaccine induces broad cross-reactive immunity against swine H3 influenza virus’, here.

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