With flu season upon us the opponents of vaccination are starting to wake up and preach the evils of vaccination. Now at EpiVax we are 100% pro-vaccination and we work hard to improve vaccine efficacy (and safety) so that diseases can be prevented around the world. But the fact is, some vaccines just aren’t effective. 

Back in April, when avian-origin H7N9 influenza was making headlines we used our in silico vaccine design and analysis toolset, iVAX, to predict the immunogenicity of the new pandemic strain. We found that H7N9 had very low T cell epitope content and very low conservation with previous influenza strains. We predicted that H7N9 was a kind of “stealth virus” and a conventional vaccine using this strain would be ineffective, publishing our results saying so.

And we were right.
Novartis just released the results of their phase 1 clinical trial of the cell-cultured H7N9 vaccines and found that only 6% of the 400 healthy subjects achieved a protective response when given two doses of the un-adjuvanted vaccine.

It is clear that better methods are needed to rationally design better, safer, more effective vaccines. EpiVax is currently working on validating the prototype H7N9 vaccine we developed with our genome-to-vaccine design tools – Dr Anne De Groot will be giving a free webinar on December 6th about how to design an epitope driven vaccine for “stealth viruses” like H7N9, for more information visit the event page.

Stay tuned for a better, safer more effective flu vaccine.

If you would like to learn more about iVAX or our other insilico tools please contact amarcello@epivax.com for more info