Flu News Friday: The Latest in Influenza Vaccines

The Influenzer Initiative
3 min readSep 24, 2021


September 24, 2021

It’s time to get your flu shot, learn more about the seasonal influenza vaccine here.

Figure 1. of Dhanasekaran et al. Streamgraph showing temporal changes in influenza lineage circulation.

1. CDC: It’s Safe to Get COVID, Flu Vaccines at Same Time

Michael Vlessides, WebMD / September 16, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made updated recommendations regarding seasonal influenza vaccines: vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and influenza can be administered simultaneously, compared to previous recommendations about spacing the two vaccines by two weeks. Experts are not concerned about the new recommendation; the MMR vaccine is one example of an efficacious vaccine that stimulates a protective immune response against three viruses: measles, mumps, and rubella. Furthermore, preventing both influenza and COVID-19 through vaccination provides the opportunity to reduce the burden on the health system.

2. Human seasonal influenza under COVID-19 and the potential consequences of influenza lineage elimination [PrePrint]

Dhanasekaran et al., Research Square / September 14, 2021

This article examines the changes in influenza antigenic evolution and cases during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While influenza normally causes substantial levels of morbidity, mortality, and economic loss, during the Pandemic its circulation has been extinguished to low levels with reduced genetic diversity. Global levels of influenza transmission have been low, however, there has been sustained, independent transmission of particular lineages in smaller regions of higher population densities. The influenza B/Yamagata lineage has not been isolated since the beginning of 2020, and its impact on flu dynamics and vaccines in temperate versus sub-tropical and tropical regions is discussed. Scientists predict that future influenza seasons will have greater severity as all-population immunity wanes, and call for a renewed focus on the development of a UIV.

3. A “Prime and Deploy” Strategy for Universal Influenza Vaccine Targeting Nucleoprotein Induces Lung-Resident Memory CD8 T cells

Chung et al., Immune Network / August 23, 2021

A two-vaccine “prime-deploy” strategy was tested to examine if it increased the protective efficacy of an intramuscular, DNA-based universal B influenza vaccine expressing the conserved nucleoprotein (NP). The DNA UIV was first administered to prime and generate NP-specific CD8 T-cell responses. The second vaccine, administered intranasally, used a viral vector platform without an antigen with the sole purpose to recruit and “deploy” the T-cells into the lungs through triggering an innate inflammatory immune response. This is to be contrasted with “prime- boost” vaccination, a regimen involving two vaccines administered subsequently, both containing antigens. The prime-deploy strategy was found to establish lung-resident memory CD8 T-cells and improve protection against influenza B.

4. Novel TLR4 adjuvant elicits protection against homologous and heterologous Influenza A infection

Haupt et al., Vaccine / August 23, 2021

Scientists designed an influenza vaccine adjuvant using Bacterial Enzymatic Combinatorial Chemistry (BECC) technology. The adjuvant consisted of a lipid that has the purpose of stimulating Toll-like receptors to generate signals that initiate a downstream adaptive immune response. The adjuvant was administered with a recombinant influenza A vaccine and showed improved immune responses during both homologous and heterologous challenge in mice, compared to the known Alum and PHAD adjuvants, while also showing vaccine dose-sparing capacity.

5. A single oral immunization with a replication-competent adenovirus-vectored vaccine protects mice from influenza respiratory infection

Goffin et al., bioRxiv / July 21, 2021

Scientists compared the immune responses to an oral, viral vectored influenza vaccine when expressing a normal versus a headless hemagglutinin (HA) in a mouse model. Mucosal vaccines, oral or intranasally, have been increasingly studied for their practicality and their potential to induce robust T-cell responses and improve vaccine efficacy. The adenovirus-vectored vaccine expressing normal HA was found to provide protection against homologous challenge while eliciting a T-cell response.

6. Funding Opportunities & Information

Protein antigen production services for the influenza vaccine antigens project [Contract Opportunity]

National Institute for Allergy & Infectious Diseases / Due September 21, 2021

Visit Influenzer.org to learn more about our journey to accelerate the development of a universal influenza vaccine. @TheInfluenzers



The Influenzer Initiative

Engaging and informing expertise from across research disciplines and industry sectors to drive innovation towards universal influenza vaccine development.