Flu News Friday: The Latest in Influenza Vaccines

The Influenzer Initiative
4 min readSep 17, 2021


September 17, 2021

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

1. Vaccine complacency and dose distribution inequities limit the benefits of seasonal influenza vaccination, despite a positive trend in use

Palache et al., Vaccine / September 11, 2021

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations’ (IFPMA) Influenza Vaccine Supply International Task Force conducted an updated seasonal influenza vaccine allocation survey. While Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia accounted for half of the global population and showed steady increases in vaccine coverage over the past five years, these regions still only receive six percent of seasonal influenza vaccines. The results highlight the persistent inequities in vaccine allocation. The updated findings also lend insight to pandemic preparedness and reflect COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

2. Novavax Begins Phase 1/2 Study for Its Combination COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccine

Contagion Live / September 9, 2021

Novavax will start its phase 1/2 clinical trial for a combination COVID-19-influenza vaccine, based on their separate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (NVX-CoV2373) and seasonal influenza vaccine (Nanoflu). In the past, each vaccine demonstrated immunogenicity in clinical trials. NVX-CoV2373 is a protein-based vaccine generated using the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein antigen and Novavax’s Matrix-M™ adjuvant. Nanoflu is a quadrivalent, recombinant hemagglutinin (HA) protein vaccine designed using nanoparticle technology.

3. Combination of conserved recombinant proteins (NP & 3M2e) formulated with Alum protected BALB/c mice against influenza A/PR8/H1N1 virus challenge

Forqani et al., Biotechnology Letters / September 7, 2021

Scientists designed a subunit influenza vaccine combining three tandem repeats of the matrix protein 2 ectodomain (M2e) and nucleoprotein (NP). These conserved influenza proteins were separately expressed in E.coli to formulate the vaccine. When the vaccine was administered with an Alum adjuvant, it was shown to be immunogenic and demonstrate protective efficacy against lethal challenge. The purpose of including an adjuvant with the subunit vaccine was to improve the immune response.

4. Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2021–2022

Committee on Infectious Diseases, American Academy of Pediatrics / September 2021

This technical report accompanies the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics for the routine use of the influenza vaccine and antiviral medications in the prevention and treatment of influenza in children during the 2021–2022 season. The report summarizes recent influenza seasons, morbidity and mortality in children, vaccine effectiveness, vaccination coverage, and guidance on storage, administration, and implementation. The report also provides background on inactivated and live attenuated influenza vaccine recommendations, vaccination during pregnancy and breastfeeding, diagnostic testing, and antiviral medications for treatment and chemoprophylaxis.

5. Safety and Immunogenicity of BPL-1357, A BPL-Inactivated, Whole-Virus, Universal Influenza Vaccine

National Institutes of Health / August 31, 2021

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will be testing a new universal influenza A vaccine in a phase I clinical trial. The two-dose vaccine includes four whole-virus inactivated strains: an H7N3 strain, an H5N1 strain, an H3N8 strain, and an H1N9 strain. It will be studied through both intramuscular and intranasal administration. The study is estimated to finish late December 2022.

6. Offspring born to influenza A virus infected pregnant mice have increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections in early life

Jacobsen et al., Nature Communications / August 16, 2021

Although influenza virus transfer does not occur from mother to fetus, there are still adverse effects that have been observed in offspring. Scientists studied the effect of maternal influenza A virus infection during the early gestational period on the immune system outcomes of offspring in a mouse model. The findings suggested such offspring may have impairments in immune development and increased susceptibility to future heterologous influenza infections and other respiratory infections.

7. Funding Opportunities & Information

UK-US research: ecology and evolution of infectious diseases 2021 [Grant]

UK Research & Innovation / Opened August 27, 2021 / Closes November 24, 2021

Vaccines 2.0 — developing the next generation of vaccines [Grant]

Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON) / Opens October 6, 2021 / Due February 1, 2022 and September 6, 2022

Pre-clinical development of the next generation of immunotherapies for diseases or disorders with unmet medical needs [Grant]

Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON) / Opens October 6, 2021 / Due February 1, 2022 and September 6, 2022

Support for international research on infectious animal diseases [Grant]

Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON) / Opens October 28, 2021 / Due February 15, 2022

Clinician scientist fellowship: Jan 2022

Medical Research Council, UK Research & Innovation / Opens November 1, 2021 / Closes January 12, 2021

Emily Graul, Sabin Vaccine Institute

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.