C2i's Managing Director Professor Leo Poon and Dr Sophie Valkenburg (University of Melbourne) a study about the development of universal vaccines targeting different viruses following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the development and clinical application of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated unprecedented vaccine success in a short time frame, it also revealed a limitation of current vaccines in their inability to provide broad-spectrum or universal protection against emerging variants. Broad-spectrum vaccines, therefore, remain a dream and challenge for vaccinology. This review will focus on current and future efforts in developing universal vaccines targeting different viruses at the genus and/or family levels, with a special focus on henipaviruses, influenza viruses, and coronaviruses. It is evident that strategies for developing broad-spectrum vaccines will be virus-genus or family specific, and it is almost impossible to adopt a universal approach for different viruses. On the other hand, efforts in developing broad-spectrum neutralizing monoclonal antibodies have been more successful and it is worth considering broad-spectrum antibody-mediated immunization, or “universal antibody vaccine,” as an alternative approach for early intervention for future disease X outbreaks.