NIH – Advancing Research Needed to Develop a Universal Influenza Vaccine (R01, R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

July 23, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The following description was taken from the R01 version of this FOA.

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to support research activities that will advance the areas of interest outlined in “A Universal Influenza Vaccine: The Strategic Plan for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,” including efforts to: 1) improve understanding of transmission, natural history and pathogenesis of influenza virus infection; 2) characterize influenza immunity and correlates of immune protection; and 3) support rational design of universal influenza vaccines.

Research Objectives

Specific areas of research interest include, but are not limited to:

Improve understanding of transmission, natural history and pathogenesis of influenza virus infection

  • Characterize influenza immunity and correlates of immune protection
  • Support rational design of universal influenza vaccines
  • Improve understanding of influenza transmission, natural history and pathogenesis
  • Expand understanding of influenza transmission, including the role of climate and geography, host factors, physical and environmental factors, and identify targets for improving interventions for disease control
  • Determine the role of anti-HA stem and anti-NA antibodies in prevention of transmission
  • Identify viral and host factors associated with transmission and the severity of influenza
  • Identify immune markers associated with reduced disease severity
  • Determine the role of bacterial or viral co-infections in the severity of influenza disease
  • Precisely characterize circulating influenza viruses
  • Develop and test models predicting the influence of pre-existing immunity on virus evolution to anticipate the next emerging dominant seasonal influenza strain
  • Improve genotypic and phenotypic characterization of circulating viruses associated with adverse clinical outcomes, host immunity, and vaccine failures

Identify/characterize immune responses required for protection:

  • Improve understanding of how and when exposure to influenza antigens shapes the subsequent immune response to influenza virus infection and vaccination
  • Characterize immune responses in those with a limited HAI response to infection or to vaccination
  • Determine the interaction of innate and adaptive immunity in the response to influenza infection or vaccination
  • Define the mechanism of broadly protective humoral immunity against influenza, including processes that affect antigenic immunodominance
  • Elucidate mechanisms of protective immunity vs. those that ameliorate symptomatic disease
  • Assess tissue-resident (e.g., airway) influenza-specific T cell immunity; compare with circulating influenza-specific T cell res
  • Elucidate antibody responses to hemagglutinin and neuraminidase and their contribution to immune protection
  • Identify alternative mechanisms of antibody-dependent protection beyond virus neutralization/HAI function

Support rational design of universal influenza vaccines:

  • Design new immunogens that elicit broad protection
  • Advance new vaccine approaches into preclinical models that exploit emerging antigen design strategies, novel technologies, and/or platforms
  • Define mechanisms and correlates of vaccine-induced protection
  • Identify vaccine candidate(s) that provide broad protection, superior to the seasonal influenza vaccine, and advance candidates to next phase of testing
  • Test adjuvants and alternative delivery methods to enhance breadth and durability of immunity

Develop and utilize systems biology approaches to analyze diverse and multi-scale influenza infection and vaccination data sets 

Develop/improve animal models and reagents to advance vaccine development

Deadlines:  standard dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities