Russian Research on The Issues

The problem of influenza and influenza-like infections remains relevant because of the unique ability of influenza viruses to change via mutation, recombination, and reassortment of genes. These changes, which are accompanied by modification of the pathogens’ biological properties, are the cause underlying uncontrolled spread of infection. Despite successes in creating vaccines, as well as other drugs for treatment and prevention, influenza epidemics sweep countries and continents every year. Immunity, which is formed in the population as a result of vaccination, leads to the emergence of new drift variants which escape the neutralizing action of specific antibodies.

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza (div. Russian Ministry of Health) research topics 2018:

  • Key factors in the formation of protective immune responses following mucosal application of candidate universal influenza vaccines based on chimeric recombinant proteins
  • Modernization and improvement of a unique collection of influenza and acute respiratory infection associated viruses
  • Study of the antigenic structures of influenza B hemagglutinin molecules at the epitope level
  • Modernization of influenza surveillance in Russia in accordance with World Health Organization requirements for National Influenza Centers; preparation for upcoming pandemics
  • Study of metabolic syndromes in patients with various forms of viral hepatitis, including diagnostic methods and selection of treatment approaches
  • Use of RNA interference technology in the development of new influenza therapies
  • Development and testing of methods for hospital surveillance of influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections in order to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of respiratory infections in large metropolitan settings

The purpose of scientific research is the creation of effective preventive, therapeutic, and diagnostic tools to reduce the incidence of influenza and acute respiratory infections. Joint coordinated work between research institutions and enterprises producing vaccines provides for the creation of relevant drugs, including inactivated vaccines for children and the elderly. Standards of therapy and tactics for vaccination are being developed. 

Development of drugs based on new designs:

  • Targeted drug delivery systems that act directly on the infectious agent, namely the influenza virus, or on host proteins whose functions should be modified
  • New generation vaccines that incorporate nanoparticles as adjuvants
  • Specific, highly-sensitive nanodetectors (diagnostic biochips, monoclonal antibodies)
  • Methods in development to increase the effectiveness of vaccines by using plants as alternative sources of immunogenic peptides

Computer programs are being developed, for use in the Russian influenza epidemiological surveillance system, which allow the creation of databases by automating and modernizing the system for collecting information. Improvement of influenza surveillance is in progress in order to enable early detection of influenza viruses with pandemic potential, as well as to identify relevant strains for the development of preventive and diagnostic drugs.

As a result of the Institute’s work, scientific conferences, symposia, and seminars are organized and methodological literature is published.