Our Science

Viral sequencing has revealed commonality in samples of the influenza virus which is informing EnGen’s development of therapeutic treatment and vaccines.

The potential to change the world

Among the hundreds of thousands of virus samples sequenced over the past century, only four significant sequence variants of an exposed M1 region have been detected. EnGen Bio scientists discovered that an isolated monoclonal antibody bound all four M1 sequence variants of the exposed region (the "epitope"), with equal affinity. This is significant because it means that just one antibody specificity is sufficient to recognize all Type A viruses.

One antibody, one universal response

Based on this exciting discovery, we hypothesized that the M1 exposed region could serve as the basis for a completely new type of universal therapy and a universal vaccine against all Type A viruses, including pandemic influenzas. To test our hypothesis, we tested whether one antibody could neutralize virus replication in various in vitro experiments. It did. We then tested whether the antibody could neutralize virus in infected animals. It did.*  We then tested whether a peptide containing epitope, when used by itself, could induce an immune response in animals. It did. We then tested whether the peptide, when used as a vaccine, could confer protection from viral challenges. It appears to have done so.*

How it works

The Type A influenza M1 protein is enveloped by a lipid bilayer where the hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA) and M2 proteins are embedded. While it has been believed that M1 is completely protected by the lipid membrane, we have discovered that a portion of it is in fact exposed and accessible to monoclonal antibody binding, and therefore represents a vaccine target. 

We have determined that it is critical to engineer the immunogen to allow the immune system to focus its response on the surface-exposed, highly conserved, M1 epitope. Once the immune system has done this, it will recall that response when re-challenged by any Type A influenza.

EnGen’s universal vaccine provides lifetime immunity to all strains of Type A influenza, including Swine flu (H1N1) and Avian flu (H7N9).