One Vaccine May Protect Against Both Parainfluenza and Influenza Viruses
By American Society for Microbiology
Jun 20, 2005, 16:08

Researchers from Wisconsin and Japan have developed a live vaccine that may protect against both the influenza and human parainfluenza viruses. They report their findings in the June 2005 issue of the Journal of Virology.

Influenza is responsible for 3 to 5 million cases of human respiratory disease each year, of which 250,000 to 500,000 are fatal. Approximately 16,300 to 96,500 patients are hospitalized annually with human parainfluenza virus infections. Current inactivated influenza vaccines are safe and somewhat effective, but they don't trigger sustained immune responses resulting in the need for yearly vaccinations. There is no vaccine currently available for human parainfluenza virus.

In the study researchers used reverse genetics to create an influenza A virus containing influenza and parainfluenza virus proteins. Mice were then infected with the virus and immunized with the recombinant vaccine. All mice receiving the vaccine developed antibodies and survived an otherwise lethal challenge with the influenza and parainfluenza viruses.

"This live bivalent vaccine has obvious advantages over combination vaccines, and its method of generation could, in principle, be applied in the development of a "cocktail" vaccine with efficacy against several different infectious diseases," say the researchers.

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