By: Tina Hodges - Staff Writer
Feb 8, 2021
Flu vaccine kill all strains. Flu vaccine miracle could be on the horizon as scientists at Oxford University have successfully tested one that could kill all known strains of the illness. The treatment – using a new technique and tested for the first time on humans infected – targets a different part of the virus.
Developed by a team led by Dr Sarah Gilbert at Oxford’s Jenner Institute, the vaccine targets proteins inside the flu virus that are common across all strains, instead of those that sit on the virus’s external coat, which are liable to mutate. If used widely, a universal package could prevent pandemics, such as the swine outbreaks of recent years, and end the need for a seasonal shot. Gilbert’s biological preparation boosts the number of the body’s T-cells, another key part of the immune system. These can identify and destroy body cells that have been infected by a virus.
“The problem with flu is that you’ve got lots of different strains and they keep changing,” said Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute. “Occasionally one comes out of wildfowl or pigs and we’re not immune to it. We need new vaccines and we can’t make them fast enough.”
In her trial, Gilbert vaccinated 11 healthy volunteers and then infected them, along with 11 non-vaccinated volunteers, with the Wisconsin strain of the H3N2 virus. She monitored the volunteers’ symptoms twice a day, including runny noses, coughs and sore throats, and she calculated how much mucus everyone produced by weighing tissues they used. Though a small study, it was significant in that it was the first vaccine of its type to be tested on people.Health News Join The Conversation
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