Researchers who created two new flu vaccines for dogs say their work could help keep people safe, too.
The vaccines were developed to protect dogs against the H3N8 canine flu virus, which is circulating among dogs in the United States.
These are “live-attenuated” vaccines. That means they’re made from live flu virus that is weakened so that it does not cause the flu. These types of vaccines trigger stronger immune responses and longer periods of protection than inactivated (killed flu virus) vaccines currently used by veterinarians, according to the University of Rochester researchers.
The new vaccines proved safe and effective against H3N8 canine influenza in mice and dog tracheal cells, according to Luis Martinez-Sobrido, an associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology, and colleagues.
The investigators plan to test the vaccines in clinical trials with dogs.
Reducing the spread of flu among dogs could also protect people, Martinez-Sobrido’s team said.
Dogs that have been infected with multiple flu viruses could potentially act as “mixing vessels” and generate new flu strains that could infect people. This hasn’t happened yet, but experts say it’s possible, the study authors noted.
The study results were published online recently in the Journal of Virology.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on flu vaccination for people.