Health in the future: 'universal' flu shot

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Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) believe that a new all-in-one two shot could protect against all strains of influenza, according to a July 15 NIH News announcement.

 

The "two-step immunization approach" has proven "to elicit infection-fighting antibodies that attacked a diverse array of influenza virus strains."

Gary J. Nabel, MD, PhD, and colleagues have published their findings in the July 15 online edition of the journal Science, ScienceXpress. 

This new approach includes a "prime-boost combination" that would tackle the seasonal flu as well as swine flu.

To date the studies have shown success in mice, monkeys and ferrets and the researchers intend to begin efficacy human trials before 2015.

"Generating broadly neutralizing antibodies to multiple strains of influenza in animals through vaccination is an important milestone in the quest for a universal influenza vaccine," said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, the director of NIAD.

"This significant advance lays the groundwork for the development of a vaccine to provide long-lasting protection against any strain of influenza."

Fauci highlighted that, "A durable and effective universal influenza vaccine would have enormous ramifications for the control of influenza, a disease that claims an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 lives annually" around the world "including an average of 36,000 in the United States."

Full study, "Induction of Broadly Neutralizing H1N1 Influenza Antibodies by Vaccination": http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1192517

For more information on NIAID's efforts, visit their flu portal:  http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/flu/Pages/default.aspx

 

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