SEP 07, 2016 07:30 AM PDT

Keynote Speaker: Challenges towards a Universal Influenza Virus Vaccine

C.E. CREDITS: P.A.C.E. CE | Florida CE
Speakers
  • Horace W. Goldsmith Professor and Chair Department of Microbiology Professor, Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    Biography
      Peter Palese is Professor of Microbiology and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. His research is in the area of RNA-containing viruses with a special emphasis on influenza viruses. Specifically, he established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B, and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of neuraminidase inhibitors (which are now FDA-approved antivirals). He developed the field of reverse genetics for negative strand RNA viruses, which allows the introduction of site-specific mutations into the genomes of these viruses. This technique is crucial for the study of the structure and function relationships of viral genes, for investigation of viral pathogenicity, and for development and manufacturing of novel vaccines. At present, Palese's group works with Adolfo García-Sastre and Florian Krammer on the development of a universal influenza virus vaccine. Palese was a recipient of the Robert Koch Prize in 2006, a recipient of the European Virology Award (EVA) in 2010, a recipient of the 2012 Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, and the awardee of the 2015 Beijerink Virology Prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Palese is a Member of the German National Academy of Sciences, a corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and he is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Member of the National Academy of Medicine (IOM) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Abstract:

    Despite FDA-approved vaccines and antivirals, seasonal and pandemic influenza remains a serious threat associated with substantial morbidity and mortality.  The present modalities and vaccine approaches will be discussed and the difficulties one faces with the presently available formulations will be addressed. While annual seasonal influenza virus vaccination is frequently effective – albeit underutilized in most countries – a safe universal influenza virus vaccine providing broad and long-lasting immunity would represent a major breakthrough.  We have developed vaccine constructs which express chimeric hemagglutinins resulting in the redirection of the immune response away from the immunodominant (variant) head domain of the hemagglutinin toward the much more conserved stalk of the hemagglutinin and the highly conserved neuraminidase.  Such vaccine constructs work well in animal challenge models and await extensive clinical trials in humans. 
     


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