Approaches to Influenza Vaccine Design and Vaccine Strain Selection

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Princeton University Invention # 09-2507

Researchers in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Molecular Biology, Princeton University, have developed biophysically grounded conceptual approaches, which take into account antibody interference, to design influenza vaccines and anti-influenza virus therapies that may afford better protection against infection.  Additionally, the Princeton researchers have developed quantitative approaches to improving the selection of suitable vaccine strains to be used in the development of flu vaccines.

Influenza viruses cause regular epidemics and occasional pandemics that have substantial economic and public health costs. The World Health Organization┬┐s global influenza surveillance program is responsible for predicting the identities of future epidemic and pandemic influenza viruses in order to enable the timely development of effective influenza vaccines. However, this program has failed on many occasions, resulting in elevated morbidity and mortality, especially among the elderly. Such failures could also have devastating economic and health consequences in the event of an influenza pandemic. There is, therefore, a great need for ways to improve the prediction of future epidemic and pandemic influenza viruses and to design effective vaccines against these viruses.

While the success of influenza vaccination depends crucially on the accurate interpretation of data collected for this purpose, consideration of antibody interference may allow for the development of more effective vaccines without the need for any improvement in surveillance.   Moreover, antibody interference and its implications for vaccine design may also be relevant to other viruses and pathogens, including HIV.

In summary, the above approaches developed at Princeton may allow for improved influenza vaccine design in addition to improved selection of strains to be used for more effective vaccines.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity. Patent protection is pending.


Wilfred Ndifon, Ned S Wingreen , Simon A Levin, Differential neutralization Efficiency of Hemagglutinin epitopes, antibody interference, and the design of influenza vaccines, PNAS, May 26th, 2009, Vol 106,No. 21, pgs 8701-8706.

Wilfred Ndifon, Jonathan Dushoff, Simon A Levin, On the use of hemagglutination-inhibition for influenza surveillance: Surveillance data are predictive of influenza vaccine effectiveness, Vaccine, 27(2009)2447-2452.

For more information on Princeton University invention # 09-2507 please contact:

                        Laurie Tzodikov

                        Office of Technology Licensing and Intellectual Property

                        Princeton University

                        4 New South Building

                        Princeton, NJ 08544-0036

                        (609) 258-7256

                        (609) 258-1159 fax


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Laurie Tzodikov
Licensing Associates
Princeton University
Wilfred Ndifon
Simon Levin
Ned Wingreen
Jonathan Dushoff