The Duke CIVIC Vaccine Center (DCVC) uses its record of success in vaccine design and the expertise of its collaborative network to improve influenza vaccine candidates and platforms with innovative technologies. Using state of the art approaches, including antibody sequence analysis, DCVC investigators inform immunogen design, formulate novel vaccine candidates, and perform testing in pre-clinical models to assess immunogenicity and protection against infectious challenge. The DCVC continually refines targets by testing the same viral antigens across different platforms. These novel delivery systems include lipid nanoparticles containing nucleoside-modified mRNA, dual-HA expressing virions presenting multiple epitopes for antibody targeting, and structure-based modifications of influenza glycoproteins to target immunity to conserved regions of the virus. The best vaccine candidates advance into pre-clinical and clinical testing to assess how well they induce robust immune responses and protect against influenza in humans.
The DCVC group has a long track record of successful collaboration in vaccine design through projects such as the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (under Dr. Barton Haynes), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) (under Dr. Greg Sempowski), and in a Boston Children’s Hospital-based P01 grant focused on structural studies of B cell repertoires induced by influenza infection and vaccination.