An Ohio State University researcher has received funding to develop a universal flu vaccine to vastly improve the odds of protecting both humans and animals from the flu virus.

Chang-Won Lee, an associate professor in the Food Animal Health Research Program of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), received a five-year, $2.2 million grant earlier this year from a special joint program between the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The program funds medical research that uses relevant farm animal models with an aim to improve both human and animal health.

Lee's project is using swine and chickens in addition to mice as models to develop a universal flu vaccine.

New flu vaccines for humans are usually tested in mice because “they're easy to work with,” Lee says. “But if you get good results in mice, can you extrapolate that to humans? Not always. We are not developing a mouse vaccine. Swine is a better model to use for several human infectious diseases.”

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Other researchers have worked on developing a universal flu vaccine, but most have used the mouse as their model, Lee says.

Lee is testing the new vaccine in both swine and poultry at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's campus in Wooster, OH. OARDC is the research arm of CFAES. Meanwhile, Jiang's lab is testing the new vaccine in a traditional mouse model.

Read more about the project at http://www.oardc.osu.edu.

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