Currently nasal spray flu vaccine that uses a live but weakened form of the virus is not recommended for those under two as it is thought to be too strong to be safe for kids, and too weak to be effective for the elderly. Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a method to modify the nasal spray flu vaccine to make it effective for those under two and above 49 - two groups for which the vaccine is not approved. The study published online in the journal Vaccine.
"We think we can use our molecular, rational design approaches to make a better flu vaccine for people who really need it," said study leader Andrew Pekosz, associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, US. "We can do it in a sophisticated and accurate way, not in a blind manner, which is how these vaccines are usually developed," he noted.
Children aged six months to two years can receive an injectable flu vaccine, but the nasal spray vaccine is recommended in children between the ages of two and eight because it is believed to give better protection than the shot. In their effort to make the nasal spray vaccine available for people of all ages, the researchers studied the weakened flu virus that is the basis for the nasal spray vaccine in cells from human nasal and sinus cavities.
The new vaccine should be ready for testing within six to 12 months for both the oldest and youngest.