Pasadena Company Reports Its Universal Flu Vaccine Has Successfully Completed Preclinical Trial

Published : Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 4:40 AM

It’s that time of year again, which makes the good news about a Pasadena company’s universal flu vaccine trial all the more promising.

The preclinical trial recently completed by InVax, located on Foothill Boulevard, was reportedly successful. InVax, who teamed up with Trudeau Institute Contract Research Organization and Hong Kong University, said it has created a flu vaccine that conquers the high mutation right of the flu strain, according to Dr. Arthur Young, company founder and president.

The doctor uses the analogy of a vehicle to explain the new vaccine.

“Remove its hubcaps, and it’ll still be able to drive; but remove its engine, and it can’t go anywhere,” he said. “InvVax is targeting the flu’s engine, and its tires, while most other groups are taking pieces off the car which may not be critical for the running of the car.”

With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 80,000 flu-related deaths in 2017-2018, the development of InVax right here in Pasadena is vital. What sets the unique vaccine apart is that when studied it “settled on four invariant regions of influenza.”

“This is highly interesting; if the invariant regions work as predicted, this might be the Achilles’ heel of influenza virus,” Dr. Leo Poon, Hong Kong University collaborator, said. “We might eventually come up with a very effective way to control influenza virus infection.”

Though Dr. Young said there is “still a long road ahead,” the Pasadena physician said InVax is on the verge of something exciting.

“We believe we’ve got the only product that disallows viral mutational escape, and that all other products out there will eventually fail because the virus is going to beat them by its ‘blind’ ability to rapidly mutate.”

A U.S. News & World Report released Tuesday details flu mutation and immunity, warning consumers of the side effects the inoculation can create.

“The vaccine can cause a low-grade fever and body aches that might make you feel like you have the flu,” according to the report. “However, this is likely your body’s immune response to the vaccine and is part of the process of building immunity to the actual flu.”

Dr. Young said as the study continues, InVax will continue to use the same platform to determine where the invariant regions are for other viruses including HIV and Hepatitis C.

“So, influenza is just the beginning,” Dr. Young said.


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