Researchers at Georgia State University have developed a more effective way of delivering influenza vaccines thanks to a dissolvable microneedle array and a special formulation of the vaccine. The microneedle device is made of a biocompatible polymer, the needles of which are tightly packed with the vaccine. The vaccine works well thanks to a novel fusion protein (4M2e-tFliC) that includes four versions of M2e, a peptide produced by the influenza virus. Each of the four versions come from different strains of the virus, making the protection broader than typical. But, to boost the immune system’s response to the vaccine, the fusion protein also has flagellin, a peptide that appears in most bacteria, that causes an alarm in the immune system and motivates it to engage more forcefully.
In a laboratory study, the researchers showed that the new vaccine, via its delivery system that releases the vaccine into the dermis and epidermis, was able to achieve a more sustained and broader resistance to influenza in mice models.
“Our study demonstrates that M2e-based vaccines greatly improve immune responses and strengthen protective functions against influenza virus infection,” said Wang, associate professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State. “We found that a skin-applied 4M2e-tFliC microneedle patch boosted immunization to seasonal vaccine recipients and may be a rapid approach to increasing the protective efficacy of seasonal vaccines in response to influenza virus challenges. Thus, the M2e antigen is a promising candidate for the development of universal influenza vaccines.”
Some details from the study in Journal of Controlled Release:
Compared with an intramuscular injection boost, mice receiving the MNP boost showed significantly enhanced cellular immune responses, hemagglutination-inhibition (HAI) titers, and neutralization titers. Increased frequency of antigen-specific plasma cells and long-lived bone marrow plasma cells was detected in the MNP boosted group as well, indicating that skin vaccination with 4M2e-tFliC facilitated a long-term antibody-mediated immunity. The 4M2e-tFliC MNP-boosted group also possessed enhanced protection against high lethal dose challenges against homologous A/PR/8/34 and A/Aichi/2/68 viruses and protection for a majority of immunized mice against a heterologous A/California/07/2009 H1N1 virus. High levels of M2e specific immune responses were observed in the 4M2e-tFliC MNP-boosted group as well.
Study in Journal of Controlled Release: A boosting skin vaccination with dissolving microneedle patch encapsulating M2e vaccine broadens the protective efficacy of conventional influenza vaccines…
Via: Georgia State…