New Nasal Flu Vaccine Shows Promise In Latest Tests

May 06, 1997

A new flu vaccine given to children via nose drops or a nasal spray was safe and produced good antibody response, according to a multi-center study led by the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. James C. King, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center, will present the data on May 6 at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Study results also were published in the April issue of Pediatric Research Journal.

"We found the vaccine delivered good antibody responses, whether it was given through nose drops or the nasal spray," says Dr. King, the principal investigator of the study. "It proved not only to be safe but much more accepted by children because they did not need to have a flu shot."

Although most people who receive flu vaccinations are adults, children with chronic diseases such as asthma also routinely receive flu shots. If more children could receive this type of protection against the flu, it could help stop the spread of the disease in the rest of the community, according to Dr. King.

"Children can easily spread the flu virus. If we can prevent them from getting sick, we may have a profound impact in breaking the chain of transmission." Dr. King adds that the new vaccine potentially could be offered to adults in the future.

Influenza is the leading viral killer in the U.S. The flu also has a significant economic cost, estimated in the billions of dollars per year in doctor visits and days lost from work, according to Dr. King.

The study included 356 children between the ages of 18 months and six years, who received the nasal vaccine or a placebo. The vaccine contained three live, weakened influenza virus strains that stimulate antibodies, which the body uses to fight the infection. The study, which lasted from the fall of 1995 to the spring of 1996, was conducted at four sites in the U.S. and at one in Chile.

Blood samples were taken before the children received the vaccine and again 42 days later to check for antibody levels. Results showed good antibody response to two of the three strains. The results were the same whether the vaccine was administered as a nasal spray or as nose drops. While antibody levels were less than expected in the third strain, Dr. King believes those levels would increase if children were to receive two doses of the flu vaccine several weeks apart. A larger study to confirm that is underway.

That study, to examine the effectiveness of two doses of the nasal vaccine, has been conducted in 1300 children at the University of Maryland Medical Center and at nine other sites across the United States this year. Researchers are just beginning to analyze the data and Dr. King says they should have a better picture of how well the vaccine protects children from influenza by this fall. If the new vaccine, in nose drop or nasal spray form, proves to be effective and wins FDA approval, it could be on the market starting in 1999.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in partnership with Aviron, a Mountainview, California company that manufactures the vaccine. The earlier study, led by Dr. King, was conducted at NIAID vaccine evaluation units at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, St. Louis University in St. Louis, Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, and at the Hospital Roberto Del Rio in Santiago, Chile.

University of Maryland Medical Center

Related Flu Vaccine Articles from Brightsurf:

A step toward a universal flu vaccine
Researchers at MIT and the Ragon Institute of MIT, MGH, and Harvard are now working on strategies for designing a universal flu vaccine that could work against any flu strain.

Study provides insight on how to build a better flu vaccine
Repeated exposure to influenza viruses may undermine the effectiveness of the annual flu vaccine.

Flu vaccine could protect against serious heart and stroke complications
The rate of seasonal flu vaccinations among people over age 50 and nursing home residents is extremely low, and those who do get the flu vaccine can significantly lower their risk of heart attack, TIA (transient ischemic attack), death and cardiac arrest.

Study suggests universal flu vaccine may be more challenging than expected
Some common strains of influenza have the potential to mutate to evade broad-acting antibodies that could be elicited by a universal flu vaccine, according to a study led by scientists at Scripps Research.

'Dirty' mice could help make a more effective flu vaccine
Studying mice that have been exposed to other illnesses could help make vaccine development processes more reflective of real-world conditions and lead to better vaccines, according to a new study.

Lifetime flu vaccine?
Another year, another flu vaccine because so far scientists haven't managed to make a vaccine that protects against all strains of flu.

Flu vaccine is safe for hospitalized patients
Hospitalized patients who received the flu vaccine had no increased risk of outpatient visits or hospital readmission within seven days of discharge, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Close flu vaccine supply gaps to ease flu seasons, make pandemics less deadly
Gaps in the logic of how we restock flu vaccines may be costing hundreds of lives, or more.

Near-infrared spectroscopy could improve flu vaccine manufacturing
Recent research outlines how near-infrared spectroscopy could be used to make cell-culture-based flu vaccine manufacturing faster and more efficient.

An effective adjuvanted intradermal flu vaccine for humans
An intradermal vaccine equipped with an immune response-boosting adjuvant protected ferrets and humans against one of the more lethal strains of pandemic flu, researchers report.

Read More: Flu Vaccine News and Flu Vaccine Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to