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

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."


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

Page: 1 2

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