Vaccine development for H7N9 flu moving forward

By Richard Asinof
Contributing Writer
Twitter: @RichardAsinof

Posted 5/20/13

PROVIDENCE – It has been a very busy month and half for Dr. Anne S. De Groot and her team at EpiVax, a bioscience firm based in the Knowledge District, which celebrated its 15th birthday on May 17.

De Groot, the chief science officer and CEO of EpiVax, told Providence Business News that four new vaccines to combat the H7N9 flu using EpiVax’s recipes are now in development.

In addition, De Groot said she recently met in Japan with Masato Tashiro, head of flu at Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, who is responsible for developing Japan’s pandemic flu response.

“H7N9 is not very immunogenic, because the epitopes have a very weak signal,” Tashiro recently told New Scientist magazine. Tashiro said that because people differ genetically in the epitopes that their T-cells recognize, his lab has found that Asian people could be especially vulnerable.

De Groot and her team at EpiVax also published a research paper on the emerging threat from the H7N9 flu, in the journal Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics.

The article, “Low immunogenicity predicted for emerging avian-origin H7N9: Implication for influenza vaccine design,” detailed how De Groot and her team used well-established immunoinformatics tools to …. FULL PBN ARTICLE HERE.