Increased protection against Influenza A

through a novel vaccine delivery method

Farah is a member of the Dept. of Infectious Diseases at UGA as a graduate student in Prof. Donald Harn’s research group. Her doctoral research focuses on improving vaccine efficacy, by using a new vaccine delivery system in an influenza model.

Influenza is a highly infectious virus, affecting millions of people globally. Symptoms of infection are frequently mild with a short recovery time but can be life-threatening high-risk individuals, including the very young, elderly and immune compromised. The most effective method of disease prevention is annual vaccination. These vaccines are generally 70-90% effective in healthy adults, but less protective in high-risk individuals. Increasing the efficacy of the flu vaccine in order to provide better protection to high-risk populations is a critical need.

Farah’s doctoral research focuses on a new vaccine delivery method (patent pending) developed in the research group of Prof. Don Harn. The effectiveness of this new method in a mouse-adapted, influenza A (H1N1) vaccine model system is being validated. Preliminary data indicates an increased protection against lethal challenge, increased specific antibody production, and enhanced viral clearance associated with the new vaccine delivery method. This vaccine delivery system has also been incorporated into a schistosomiasis vaccine study in water buffalo in China and the Philippines.