Scientists Take Huge Step Toward Universal Flu Vaccine

A universal flu vaccine -- one that provides immunity against every strain of the influenza virus for multiple years -- is the holy grail of flu research. It would be a medical breakthrough on the order of penicillin, with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. And scientists just got one crucial step closer to making it a reality. Two separate groups of scientists published papers this week demonstrating that a new type of flu vaccine can provide protection against multiple strains of the disease, rather than just one. Though a truly universal flu vaccine that could be given to humans remains years away, infectious disease experts hailed the new findings as a major breakthrough. "These are very good papers. There are no problems with them," Dr. Peter Palese, a renowned flu expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told The Huffington Post. "What we need to do now is put [these vaccines] in humans and see if they work. That's the only question at this point."  One group of researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Nature Medicine, tested the new type of vaccine on mice and ferrets, while the other group, which published its paper in Science, tested it on monkeys. Both teams found that the vaccine increased the test subjects' immunity against both the H1N1 flu type, often called "swine flu," and the H5N1 type, or "bird flu." Until now, all flu vaccines have only been able to prot...
Source: Science - The Huffington Post - Category: Science Source Type: news

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Conclusion This modelling study shows how the strains of influenza A – "bird flu" – circulating when a person is born give them lifelong protection against new subtypes with the same H protein groups. The researchers call this immune imprinting. This may help to explain the high severity and mortality rate seen among certain groups. For example, the massive flu pandemic of 1918 was an H1N1 strain. This had a very high fatality rate among young adults, which the researchers consider may have been because when they were born (between 1880 and 1900), H3 was the dominant strain. Therefore they had no prot...
Source: NHS News Feed - Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Medical practice Source Type: news
Host: Vincent Racaniello Guest: Peter Palese Vincent speaks with Peter Palese about his illustrious career in virology, from early work on neuraminidases to universal influenza virus vaccines.   Become a patron of TWiV! Links for this episode Palese Laboratory Pig kidney neuraminidase (Hoppe Seylers Z Physiol Chem) DNAse in cytoplasmic DNA virus (Virology) Inhibitor of influenza virus neuraminidase (Virology) Influenza neuraminidase defective mutants (Virology) Swine influenza virus of 1976 RNA pattern (Nature) 1977 influenza H1N1 similar to 1950s strains (Nature) H5N1 influenza: Facts, not fe...
Source: This Week in Virology - MP3 Edition - Category: Virology Authors: Source Type: podcasts
Publication date: Available online 25 September 2015 Source:Veterinary Microbiology Author(s): Jidang Chen, Jun Ma, Sarah K. White, Zhenpeng Cao, Yun Zhen, Shuyi He, Wanjun Zhu, Changwen Ke, Yongbiao Zhang, Shuo Su, Guihong Zhang Guangdong Province is recognized for dense populations of humans, pigs, poultry and pets. In order to evaluate the threat of viral infection faced by those working with animals, a cross-sectional, sero-epidemiological study was conducted in Guangdong between December 2013 and January 2014. Individuals working with swine, at poultry farms, or live poultry markets (LPM), and veterinaria...
Source: Veterinary Microbiology - Category: Veterinary Research Source Type: research
Conclusion These studies have developed two different flu vaccines that could potentially offer broader protection against a variety of flu strains than current vaccines. As yet, this research has only been conducted in animals, with one study showing an effect against different flu strains in mice and monkeys, and the other showing an effect in mice and ferrets. As monkeys are more similar to humans than mice or ferrets, the results from these experiments are likely to be the most representative of what would happen in humans. While the results are encouraging, it is likely that additional lab and animal research on bo...
Source: NHS News Feed - Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medical practice Medication Heart/lungs Swine flu Source Type: news
Influenza virus neuramindase (NA) protein is a surface protein that plays an essential role in virus replication. Drugs and antibodies that block NA function can reduce both the symptoms and the length of illness; however, variants of influenza virus are resistant to NA inhibitors. The neuramindase 1 (N1) subtype of NA is important because it is found in the two pandemic H1N1 influenza virus strains (1918 Spanish flu and 2009 swine flu) and the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Anti-neuramindase antibody CD6 is a novel antibody that spans a conserved 30 amino acid epitope across the lateral face of a neuramindase (NA) dimer. The...
Source: NIH OTT Licensing Opportunities - Category: Research Authors: Source Type: research
INTRODUCTION According to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), natural disasters are classified as geophysical, metrological, hydrological, climatological and biological. These five disaster types encompass 12 disaster types and more than 30 sub-types. The 20th Century witnessed an increase in disaster losses, and this has continued its upward trend in the current Century. Climate change will increase the rate of increase of disasters, particularly those of meteorological origin. This is reflected in the fact that, of all natural hazards, floods are the most frequent and their impacts are also i...
Source: PLOS Currents Disasters - Category: Global & Universal Authors: Source Type: research
The objectives of this study were to describe the control measures implemented since October 2013 in response to this outbreak and to compare virus occurrence in piglets ‒ the subpopulation likely responsible for viral maintenance within the herd5,6 ‒ using a pre-post intervention study design. Additionally, the pattern of maternally-derived immunity in piglets sourced from the affected herd was assessed. Methods Study farm The study farm consisted of an intensive, closed-cycle swine breeding farm housing approximately 1,100 sows/gilts and 23,000 piglets located in North-East Italy. This farm supplies ~90 day-old pi...
Source: PLOS Currents Outbreaks - Category: Epidemiology Authors: Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 5 March 2015 Source:Antiviral Research Author(s): A. Sally Davis , Jeffery K. Taubenberger , Mike Bray Attempts to reproduce the features of human influenza in laboratory animals date from the early 1890s, when Richard Pfeiffer inoculated apes with bacteria recovered from influenza patients and produced a mild respiratory illness. Numerous studies employing nonhuman primates (NHPs) were performed during the 1918 pandemic and the following decade. Most used bacterial preparations to infect animals, but some sought a filterable agent for the disease. Since the viral etiology of influenza ...
Source: Antiviral Therapy - Category: Virology Source Type: research
Abstract Attempts to reproduce the features of human influenza in laboratory animals date from the early 1890s, when Richard Pfeiffer inoculated apes with bacteria recovered from influenza patients and produced a mild respiratory illness. Numerous studies employing nonhuman primates (NHPs) were performed during the 1918 pandemic and the following decade. Most used bacterial preparations to infect animals, but some sought a filterable agent for the disease. Since the viral etiology of influenza was established in the early 1930s, studies in NHPs have been supplemented by a much larger number of experiments in mice,...
Source: Antiviral Research - Category: Virology Authors: Tags: Antiviral Res Source Type: research
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