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Striking a Gold Mine: H5N1 Vaccine may Serve as an Antidote for Mutants and Variants

As a breather and news that spells heaven for millions of avian influenza patients there is a research by scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital //. According to them they have developed in the lab a vaccine that is potent against one antigenic variant of the avian influenza virus H5N1. The scientific discovery is that this vaccine also has the ability to protect humans against future variants/mutants of the virus.

The great thing about such vaccines is that these can be used as stockpiles of medicine and used as and when required. This would save time and many lives unless new vaccines can be found against those variants.

A prepublication report on the study appears in the online issue of Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID).

The researchers showed that the vaccine completely protected ferrets from a lethal nasal infection against not only the original virus the vaccine was made to thwart, but also against a newer variant that has already proved fatal to humans. The ferrets experienced a more significant reduction of virus multiplication than otherwise would have occurred, the researchers reported. Moreover, the infections failed to spread out of the upper respiratory tract to the lungs or brain.

“These findings are especially significant because ferrets are known to be an excellent and accurate model of influenza infection and immune response in humans,” said Elena Govorkova, Ph.D., a staff scientist in the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude. “Restricting the infection to the upper respiratory tract is important since in humans the virus has been isolated from specimens taken from the cerebrospinal fluid, feces, throat and blood serum. Therefore, limiting the spread of virus in an infected human is crucial to saving that person’s life.” Govorkova is the lead author of the JID paper and led the research team conducting the study.

The team also showed that the optimal strategy for vaccinatio
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