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Universal Flu Shot that Vaccinates for Life a Step Closer

Universal Flu Shot that Vaccinates for Life a Step Closer

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Researchers have found that several patients infected with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu strain have developed antibodies that are protective against a variety of flu strains. “The result is something like the holy grail for flu-vaccine research,” said the study author at the University of Chicago. The scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago studied nine patients who were affected by the 2009 strain with differing levels of severity. The team identified white blood cells from the patients that made antibodies against flu virus, and then isolated the antibody genes from individual cells. They used the genes to produce antibodies in cell culture –- a total of 86 varieties — and then tested which flu strains they reacted against. Five antibodies isolated by the team could bind all the seasonal H1N1 flu strains from the last decade, the devastating “Spanish flu” strain from 1918, and also a pathogenic H5N1 avian flu strain. Some of the antibodies the team identified stick to the “stalk” region of part of the virus –- a protein called haemagglutinin. Because this part of the virus does not change as much as other regions, scientists have proposed to make it the basis of a vaccine that could provide broader protection.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8250592/Universal-flu-shot- that-vaccinates-for-life-a-step-closer.html