Posted: March 2, 2020

Applications due July 2, 2020

The significant morbidity and mortality from seasonal influenza each year are often attributed to infections by influenza A-type viruses (IAV). However, approximately 25% of seasonal influenza infections are caused by influenza B-type viruses (IBV) and in some geographic regions the number of cases of IBV infections in a given year can exceed the number of IAV infections. In the U.S., IBV is associated with approximately 30% of pediatric deaths each year.

Influenza vaccines currently contain both IAV and IBV components. Like IAV, IBV are subject to antigenic drift that can render seasonal vaccines ineffective due to mismatches. Even in years when vaccines are well-matched to circulating viruses, vaccines can show suboptimal effectiveness against both IAV and IBV strains.

NIAID's Strategic Plan for the Development of a Universal Influenza Vaccine provides a research agenda for understanding and addressing scientific challenges to overcome suboptimal vaccine effectiveness and support activities focused on development of a universal influenza vaccine. Universal influenza vaccines would provide markedly improved breadth and durability of protection compared to currently licensed products. Emphasis is placed on development of a vaccine against IAV to address the combined seasonal and pandemic threats caused by IAV subtypes. However, there is significant interest in the development of vaccines that can provide broad, durable protection against both IAV and IBV strains, thus further optimizing preventive measures against seasonal influenza.

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