Navigation Links
Scientists closer to universal flu vaccine after pandemic 'natural experiment'
Date:9/22/2013

Scientists have moved closer to developing a universal flu vaccine after using the 2009 pandemic as a natural experiment to study why some people seem to resist severe illness.

Researchers at Imperial College London asked volunteers to donate blood samples just as the swine flu pandemic was getting underway and report any symptoms they experienced over the next two flu seasons.

They found that those who avoided severe illness had more CD8 T cells, a type of virus-killing immune cell, in their blood at the start of the pandemic.

They believe a vaccine that stimulates the body to produce more of these cells could be effective at preventing flu viruses, including new strains that cross into humans from birds and pigs, from causing serious disease.

The findings are published in Nature Medicine.

Professor Ajit Lalvani from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, who led the study, said: "New strains of flu are continuously emerging, some of which are deadly, and so the Holy Grail is to create a universal vaccine that would be effective against all strains of flu."

Today's flu vaccines make the immune system produce antibodies that recognise structures on the surface of the virus to prevent infection with the most prevalent circulating strains. But they are usually one step behind as they have to be changed each year as new viruses with different surface structures evolve.

Previously, experimental models had suggested that T cells may protect against flu symptoms but until now this idea has not been tested in humans during a pandemic.

Professor Lalvani's team rapidly recruited 342 staff and students at Imperial to take part in their study in autumn 2009. The volunteers donated blood samples and were given nasal swabs. They were sent emails every three weeks asking them to fill in a survey about their health. If they experienced flu symptoms, they took a nasal swab and sent it back to the lab.

They found that those who fell more severely ill with flu had fewer CD8 T cells in their blood, and those who caught flu but had no symptoms or only mild symptoms had more of these cells.

Professor Lalvani said, "The immune system produces these CD8 T cells in response to usual seasonal flu. Unlike antibodies, they target the core of the virus, which doesn't change, even in new pandemic strains. The 2009 pandemic provided a unique natural experiment to test whether T cells could recognise, and protect us against, new strains that we haven't encountered before and to which we lack antibodies.

"Our findings suggest that by making the body produce more of this specific type of CD8 T cell, you can protect people against symptomatic illness. This provides the blueprint for developing a universal flu vaccine.

"We already know how to stimulate the immune system to make CD8 T cells by vaccination. Now that we know these T cells may protect, we can design a vaccine to prevent people getting symptoms and transmitting infection to others. This could curb seasonal flu annually and protect people against future pandemics."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sam Wong
sam.wong@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-2198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Stanford scientists develop gene therapy approach to grow blood vessels in ischemic limbs
2. Queens scientists seek vaccine for Pseudomonas infection
3. Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
4. American Society of Plant Biologists honors early career women scientists
5. Brandeis scientists win prestigious prize for circadian rhythms research
6. Scientists discover new method of proton transfer
7. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
8. WileyChina.com - Now Featuring Bespoke Pages for China’s Life Scientists
9. Scientists win $2 million to study new pathway in development and maintenance of lymphoma
10. UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings
11. Genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings revealed by scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/19/2016)... -- Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil and ... and monitoring, announced today that it has offered a ... independent technology judge determine who has the largest and ... calling platform, and the best customer service. ... what we do – which clearly is not the ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory Inc ., ... security for consumer electronics, and VeriTran , ... retail industry, today announced a global partnership that ... to authenticate users of mobile banking and mobile ... software which requires no specialized biometric scanners, ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... Inc. ("xG" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: XGTI, XGTIW), a ... challenging operating environments, announced its results for the third ... conference call to discuss these results on November 15, ... Key Recent Accomplishments The ... Vislink Communication Systems. The purchase is expected to close ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... SAN DIEGO , Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... presented demonstrating the role of the Breast Cancer ... stage, ER+ breast cancer are most at-risk for ... therapy. Data include results from three studies advancing ... provide information related to tumor biology and inform ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , December 8, 2016 ... für Molekulargenetik, erweitert seine Palette an anpassbaren SureSeq™ ... Custom FH Panels, das ein schnelles und kostengünstiges ... Das Panel bietet eine Erkennung von Einzel-Nukleotid-Variationen (Single ... mit einem einzigen kleinen Panel und ermöglicht eine ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... December 08, ... ... and Oculus as finalists in the World Technology Awards. uBiome is one of ... were received across all categories. , In addition to uBiome, companies nominated as ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Savannah ... remediation technologies and selected NewTechBio,s NT-MAX Lake ... microbial based beneficial bacteria, in conjunction with Hexa ... correct deficiencies with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ... has experienced a steady history of elevated pH ...
Breaking Biology Technology: