The Purdue Research Foundation announced today that it licensed a new technology to San Diego-based PaxVax Inc. that could be mass-produced into a bird flu vaccine. The vaccine technology transports an extra gene related to the influenza virus. The extra gene produces a protein in the host's cells and triggers an immune response against bird flu. The process to earn approval for this vaccine through Food and Drug Administration-regulated human clinical trials has not yet begun. "Our priority in the coming year is to bring this project forward to clinical trials to address the need for vaccines against bird flu as well as to expand our vaccine platform," said Daniel R. Henderson, Ph.D., CEO of PaxVax. Suresh Mittal, a Purdue molecular virologist who led the team of scientists, said the vaccine has "the promise of providing long-lasting and broad immunity against multiple strains of the virus." "It also can be mass-produced much more quickly than by current methods," he added. Scientists believe that without the right vaccines and preparation, a virulent form of bird flu, H5N1, has the potential to cause one of the deadliest flu outbreaks if it mutates in a way that makes human-to-human transmission easier. This research project was funded with a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Mittal's collaborators included Harm HogenEsch, co-principal investigator and head of Purdue's Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, and Center for Disease Control investigators Jacqueline Katz and Suryaprakash Sambhara.