The Pathway to a Universal Influenza Vaccine
In 2018, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) unveiled its strategic plan for developing a universal influenza vaccine. The plan was outlined in an article published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and described a vaccine that can provide durable protection for all age groups against multiple influenza strains, including those that might cause a pandemic. The strategic plan builds upon a workshop NIAID convened in June 2017 that gathered scientists from academia, industry, and government who developed criteria for defining a universal influenza vaccine, identified knowledge gaps, and delineated research strategies for addressing those gaps. The findings of that workshop were published in the journal Immunity and outlined four key criteria for a universal vaccine.
A Universal Influenza Vaccine Should Meet These 4 Criteria:
The Vision for the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) program
In the strategic plan, the authors state that a coordinated effort of guided discovery, facilitated product development and managed progress through iterative clinical testing will be critical to achieving the goal of a universal influenza vaccine. The strategic plan envisioned the creation of a consortium of scientists to meet designated goals for a universal influenza vaccine, and to also expand the Institute’s research resources by establishing long-term human cohorts, supporting improved animal models of influenza infection and expanding capacity for conducting human challenge studies. The Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) program is the realization of that vision.