WARF: P08262US

Novel Peptide Adjuvant Improves Response to Influenza Vaccination


Stacey Schultz-Cherry, Curtis Brandt, Jeremy Jones

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a novel peptide adjuvant, known as EB, that improves response to vaccination against the influenza virus.
OVERVIEWInfluenza causes widespread morbidity and mortality worldwide. High-risk populations are routinely vaccinated in the United States, but influenza is still responsible for approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 American deaths each year.

The avian influenza A virus strain H5N1 is likely to be the cause of the next global influenza pandemic. Because this virus contains an antigen subtype that generally produces a poor immunogenic response in humans, more than one dose of vaccine may be needed to provide immunity. Influenza virus also mutates rapidly, making it difficult to produce large quantities of effective antigen each year. New formulations that require less antigen per dose are needed.

The use of an adjuvant to improve immunogenicity is a crucial antigen-sparing strategy. By combining a vaccine with an adjuvant, the body can produce up to six times as many virus-neutralizing antibodies as it would with a non-adjuvanted vaccine of the same dose. However, no approved adjuvants for influenza vaccines currently exist.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed an effective influenza vaccine adjuvant known as EB. EB is a 20 amino acid oligopeptide that specifically binds to the viral haemagglutinin protein. It induces influenza virus particles to aggregate, leading to increased viral uptake by antigen presenting cells.

This peptide can be added to influenza vaccines to increase immune response to the vaccine. The inventors found that mice vaccinated with inactivated H5N1 virus pretreated with EB adjuvant had no detectable infectious virus in their lungs at three and six days post infection, in contrast to mice vaccinated with H5N1 alone or with alum as an adjuvant, which had viral levels of up to 104 infectious viral particles in their lungs. 
  • Prevention and treatment of influenza and other viruses
  • Improves vaccine response against influenza and other respiratory viruses
  • Allows smaller amounts of antigen to be used, potentially alleviating vaccine shortages
  • Protective in vivo, even when administered post-infection
  • Mice vaccinated with inactivated H5N1 combined with EB showed increased levels of virus-specific IgG antibodies as compared to mice given H5N1 alone or with alum as an adjuvant.
For More Information About the Inventors
  • Jones J.C., Turpin E.A., Bultmann H., Brandt C.R. and Schultz-Cherry S. 2006. Inhibition of Influenza Virus Infection by a Novel Antiviral Peptide That Targets Viral Attachment to Cells. J. Virol. 80, 11960-11967.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
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