The Influenza Center is a leading international center in preclinical and clinical development of influenza vaccines and is funded by the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

Researchers at the Influenza Center

The center's work has been supported through grants from the EU (through three different EU projects) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health and coordinates an international consortium funded by the Research Council of Norway (NFR).


In 1982, the WHO established an influenza center for Western Norway with Prof. Lars Haaheim as director before this work was centralized at the National Institute of Public Health in 2002. Since then, the Ministry of Health and Care Services has provided permanent basic funding for the Influenza Center's work at Gade's institute. Prof. Lars Haaheim led the Influenza Center from 2002 until he resigned in September 2008. Prof. Rebecca Cox then took over the management of the center.


The Influenza Center specializes in detailed evaluation of the immune response in both preclinical models and in human vaccine studies. The center's vision is to reduce the global burden of influenza disease by being an international leader in the development of new and better influenza vaccines.

The vision will be achieved through our main activities:

  • Evaluation of new vaccine formulations, including new adjuvants (vaccine enhancers)
  • Preclinical research and development of promising vaccine candidates
  • Human clinical trials of new phase I to IV influenza vaccines with good clinical practice (GCP).

The knowledge generated through these activities will result in the development of a knowledge platform for the immune response and immunological correlates for protection that will give us an improved understanding of immunological defense mechanisms. The Influenza Center will contribute to increased collaboration across disciplines in order to achieve good translational vaccine research and actively contribute to the education of master's and doctoral students.

Professor Rebecca Cox, Head of the Influenza Centre
Professor Rebecca Cox, Head of the Influenza Centre

At the Influenza Center, we have concentrated on implementing detailed characteristics of the immune response after vaccination. The most promising vaccine candidate we have developed and evaluated is a vaccine against bird flu with Matrix M adjuvant. This gave very promising results in a phase I clinical study in 2009. We have also tested a new type of plant-based vaccine candidates against pandemic influenza with very promising results. In collaboration with Haukeland University Hospital, we have also conducted a clinical study in which we investigated side effects and immune response in 250 health workers after vaccination against swine flu in 2009.