Could pave the way for the development of universal flu vaccines
The end of the seasonal flu shot may be approaching: University of British Columbia researchers report they have found a potential way to develop universal flu vaccines that would protect against many flu virus strains.
The research team found that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, which protects against the virus known colloquially as the swine flu, triggers antibodies that protect against multiple influenza viruses, including the deadly avian H5N1 strain.
“The flu virus has a protein called hemagglutinin, or HA for short. This protein is like a flower with a head and a stem,” lead study author John Schrader, a professor in medicine and pathology and laboratory medicine, said in a release. “The flu virus binds to human cells via the head of the HA, much like a socket and plug.
“Current flu vaccines target the head of the HA to prevent infections, but because the flu virus mutates very quickly this part of the HA changes rapidly, hence the need for different vaccines every flu season.”
via 24hrs – QMI AGENCYᔥ
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