Hall of Fame

Innovator Profiles

Hunein F. Maassab

Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology

History: Maassab worked on influenza vaccine over his entire career beginning in the 1950s. He first isolated the influenza type A-Ann Arbor virus in 1960 and over the decades he worked to develop a B strain, and find the technology to re-engineer new vaccine lots with each year’s flu strain.

Technology: FluMist® is a cold-adapted, live-attenuated trivalent influenza virus administered as a nasal spray. It is designed to elicit an immune response in the nasal epithelium without causing the disease.

Benefit: Because it’s a nasal spray, FluMist® provides an alternative means of vaccination for children, who often hate getting shots. The vaccine can be used in children, adolescents, and adults aged 2 through 49.

Tech Transfer: U-M licensed the technology to Aviron in 1995 which was acquired by MedImmune in 2002. The FDA granted final approval in 2003.