CANBERRA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists have successfully developed a single vaccine approach to combat multiple deadly respiratory diseases.
The team from the University of Adelaide's Research Centre for Infectious Diseases on Tuesday said that the single vaccination approach can simultaneously prevent influenza and pneumococcal infections, which together kill millions of people every year.
Study leaders Mohammed Alsharifi and James Paton said that the single approach also overcomes the limitations of current vaccines.
They found that the influenza A vaccine is more likely to also protect against other strains of influenza when co-administered with the pneumococcal vaccine.
"Influenza infection predisposes patients to severe pneumococcal pneumonia, with very high mortality rates," Alsharifi said in a media release.
"Despite this well-known synergism, current vaccination strategies target the individual pathogens," Alsharifi said.
"We're investigating combining our novel influenza and pneumococcal vaccines into a single vaccination approach and have demonstrated a highly significant enhancement of immune responses against diverse subtypes of influenza," Alsharifi said.
Previous research published by the team found that the efficacy of pneumococcal vaccines is also boosted when co-administered with the flu vaccine.
"Influenza virus and pneumococcus worked together to cause up to 100 million deaths during the great 'Spanish flu' pandemic of 1918-1919," Paton said.
"A century later, we have shown analogous, but this time highly protective, synergy with our novel vaccination strategy that targets both pathogens simultaneously," Paton said.