Influenza is a major health burden with an estimated 1 billion cases, 3-5 million severe cases and 2.9-6.5 lakh respiratory related deaths annually world over. Vaccination is the most effective way to combat circulating strains of Influenza viruses, recommended annually as the immunity wanes over time. Influenza viruses have pandemic potential especially when a new strain of virus emerges. The burden of seasonal influenza and the threat of emergence of a new influenza pandemic is a major concern worldwide. In this context, collaborative efforts from Europe and India have been put forward towards the development of a next generation influenza vaccine.
ENDFLU is an EU-India collaborative project aimed at the development of three complementary next-generation influenza vaccination strategies for the world, fuelled by the synergetic expertise of Indian and European partners in rational vaccine design and development. Constructs to elicit humoral immunity and cell mediated immune response built on rationally designed and optimised conserved epitopes of influenza antigens either as proteins or expressed as replication-deficient modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) will be developed. Out of the project’s total of 14 participating institutions, seven institutions are from Europe – University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Lund University, Utrecht University, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausane, Curve Clinical BV – and seven institutions are from India – Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, IISER –Thiruvananthapuram, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital, CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH) and Mynvax Private Limited.
Manipal Institute of Virology (MIV), MAHE, is one among the lead beneficiary for Work Package 2 (WP2) that involves standardization of humoral immune response assays for detection of antibody responses against developed vaccines. Immunological assay package includes standardization of hemagglutination inhibition assay, neuraminidase inhibition assay, virus neutralization and (ELISA-based) micro-neutralization assay targeting HA. ELISA based on the expression of HA/NA ectodomain, ELLA assay, ELISA based on the expression of HA stem and ELISA based on the expression of NA. MIV is also a participant in WP5 and WP7 that involves performing humoral immunological assays on pre-clinical and clinical samples from ENDFLU partners.