Creato Flu develops salmonella-based broad spectrum oral flu vaccine

15 July 2009

German company Creato Flu GmbH has announced an innovative approach to developing a new broad-spectrum influenza vaccine. The live, orally active vaccine is expected to be effective against all types of influenza virus.

“This vaccine is active in seasonal waves of influenza as well as occasional and unexpected outbreaks with pandemic potential, such as, for example, avian influenza or the current spreading of swine influenza,” said Prof. Dr. Schramm, Chief Operating Officer of Creato Flu GmbH.

The new vaccine takes advantage of a technology adapted from the production of animal vaccines at Creatogen Laboratories GmbH.

“This is a rather simple principle which has been successfully applied to veterinary vaccines,” explains Prof. Dr. Schramm. “A vaccination strain based on living salmonella, which has been used as protection against typhoid fever in humans for many years, is being modified by genetic engineering so that the bacterial cells express highly conserved antigens of various influenza subtypes on their surface.“

Vaccination of humans with this strain is expected to induce immunity against all influenza subtypes having these antigens. “At present three highly conserved antigens are known in influenza, and the existence of additional antigens is quite unlikely; consequently, we can expect comprehensive protection,” asserts Prof. Schramm. Creato Flu GmbH has filed patent applications for all three antigens.

The researchers of Creatogen have employed this technology to develop a poultry vaccine against all types of avian influenza. This project, which is currently in its animal testing phase, is done in collaboration with the Friedrich Löffler Institute in Riems and funded by the German Federal Government (Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection).

“The advantages of such a salmonella-based vaccine compared to a conventionally manufactured, inactivated vaccine can be summarized as follows: it can be administered orally, it can be produced rapidly, and in an inexpensive way, in any quantity. In case of a pandemic, it could then easily meet demand worldwide. Furthermore, production of this type of vaccine can start immediately.

“It does not require the usual pre-production development of at least six months“, claims Prof. Schramm.

The researchers of Creato Flu GmbH are planning to deliver a vaccine for human clinical trials within the next 12 months. A respective patent has been filed. The biotech company is currently seeking partners for expansion of the research project into clinical trials and further development.

“We are looking for a partner from the pharmaceutical industry to advance this project together with us and who can also rsaid Dr. Alexander Wannenwetsch, General Manager of Creato Flu GmbH. “Then we will very soon be in a position to protect human beings against all types of influenza by means of a simple oral vaccination.”

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