Avian Flu: Not If, But When - Immunologist Dr. Douglas Powell on New Vaccine Development

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Avian Flu Pandemic: It's Not a Question of If, But When: Dr. Douglas Powell, Director of Immunology, Antigen Express - Bloomberg

Bloomberg - (BLOOM)

Mar. 19, 2007. 06:12 PM EST

The number of cases of avian flu is approaching 300 and solutions are needed. Immunologist Dr. Douglas Powell discussed novel vaccine developments with Bloomberg yesterday.

Dr. Powell is speaking at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington, D.C.  this week. Here's a summary of what he has been working on lately. Dr Douglas Powell, Director of Immunology, Antigen Express As an H5N1 virologist and immunologist, Antigen Express Director of Immunobiology Doug Powell studies the immune response H5N1 influenza vaccines and infection. The antibody response in humans vaccinated with inactivated H5N1 virus produced in chicken eggs or by recombinant H5 is relatively weak to when compared to seasonal H1N1 and H3N1 vaccines. This suggests that the H5 hemagglutinin molecule is poorly immunogenic. It is generally accepted that egg-based or recombinant H5 vaccines will play little role during the first wave of a pandemic, therefore it is essential to develop novel vaccination strategies for H5N1. The virus-specific CD4+ T cell response is critical in providing help to B cells for optimal generation of neutralizing antibodies. We have mapped several MHC Class II epitopes in H5 and have demonstrated that immunization with defined epitopes greatly enhances the CD4+ T cell responses to recombinant H5 protein.