BiondVax Universal Flu Shot Starts Next Test Stage

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BiondVax Pharmaceuticals has begun Phase IIa testing of its universal influenza vaccination, it said this week.

The company is conducting the tests on human volunteers. It hopes the vaccine will be proven to provide multi-year protection against existing and future strains of flu virus. Influenza has a habit of mutating rapidly, hence the drive to find a universal preventative.

The company said it expects to release the results of the tests by the middle of 2011.

The study, being conducted on 200 healthy male and female subjects aged 18-49, will evaluate the safety of the vaccine, as well as its effectiveness in inducing immune responses to various strains of flu, both seasonal and pandemic.

The trials are being led by Yoseph Caraco, director of the Hadassah Clinical Research Center, and Jacob Atsmon, director of the Clinical Research Center at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

BiondVax performs research and development on a universal vaccine against most flu strains, including avian and swine flu. The vaccine is based on research conducted by Ruth Arnon of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The current study, Phase IIa of the clinical trials, follows success in the two previous Phase I/II trials. In April the company announced the successful completion of the second Phase I/II testing on 60 people aged 55-75, and said it found the vaccine to be safe at all levels of dosage tested.

Last December Biondvax completed its first tests, showing safe and positive results, on 63 subjects aged 18-49.