Since early 2013, the newly emergent H7N9 avian influenza virus has been infecting humans in China, leading to the temporary closure of numerous poultry markets in a bid to control the outbreak. In recent weeks, the rate at which new cases are reported has been declining – but some experts are asking whether this is just the calm before the storm. The development of a vaccine against the virus is therefore still of great interest – but where are we with vaccine development?
Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced on July 8th that in a preclinical study of its influenza DNA vaccine, 100% of the vaccinated animals were protected against sickness and death when challenged with a lethal dose of A/Anhui/1/13 strain of H7N9 virus. On the same day, Novavax made an announcement that enrolment had begun for a Phase I clinical trial of its monovalent virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidate – again based on the A/Anhui/1/13 strain
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