Wake Forest Baptist scientists have received a $2.9 million grant to help develop a flu vaccine for newborns. The funding comes from the National Institutes of Health.
Currently, there is no flu vaccine available for babies less than 6 months old. And yet newborns and young infants are more likely to die from an infection than older children.
Dr. Martha Alexander-Miller says that's because infants have difficulty building a strong immune response to the virus. Her team has been working for seven years to understand why vaccines are ineffective in young infants.
Alexander-Miller says the current goal is to identify "a vaccine approach for influenza that is safe and broadly protective when delivered to newborns." She adds that the research could also be helpful in developing a universal flu vaccine that is effective over multiple seasons.
The four-year grant was awarded to those working with Wake Forest Baptist's Center for Vaccines at the Extremes of Aging.