Group leader: Prof. Xavier Saelens
Strategic Advisor: Prof. em. Dr. Walter Fiers
Publications of Walter Fiers
Human influenza is a contagious disease caused by influenza A or B viruses. Influenza A viruses circulate in several animal species and create problems, in terms of animal welfare, but also as a reservoir of new genes for humans influenza A viruses. There are just a few small molecule drugs available against flu and the licensed vaccines requires annual updating.
We have developed a universal influenza A vaccine based on the extracellular domain of the conserved M2-protein (M2e). We are elucidating the immune mechanism of action of the M2e-vaccine and try to document its advantage as a disease-modulating vaccine antigen. We are also pursuing a new approach to develop a cross-protective vaccine against influenza B virus and are developing novel antibody-based therapeutics against influenza viruses.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important cause of acute lower respiratory tract infection in very young children. Disease caused by RSV is very contagious and almost everyone is infected with RSV by the age of two years. In the very young (from birth until the age of two years), the virus can cause severe respiratory tract disease characterized by bronchiolitis (inflammation of the bronchioles),pneumonia, and apnea (temporary cessation of breathing). In the USA, 100,000 children are hospitalized each year due to RSV, and 4500 children die from the infection. Worldwide, RSV causes 180,000 deaths each year. There is no vaccine and only one specific antiviral drug against RSV is currently licensed. Our group has developed a novel RSV vaccine candidate and is developing novel antiviral drugs against this virus.
Area of expertise
Technology transfer potential
RSV-infected cell: cell nuclei (in blue)
and RSV antigens (in red)