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Survivors of SARS Aid in Bird Flu Vaccine Development

Survivors of the potentially lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu would help to develop a vaccine against influenza //.

Research conducted by an international team at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by lead author, Prof Antonio Lanzavecchia has revealed the process of mass-production of antibodies from the cells of these survivors of the Sars virus.

Immune system cells from survivors of the virus are made to produce antibodies by the addition of a short stretch of synthetic DNA similar to that in viruses.

The Wellcome Trust is funding the research. The Trust has mentioned that the team now planned to use the antibodies to H5N1 virus, developed from these patients, to neutralise strains of the H5N1 virus in the laboratory.

These antibodies could help to understand the mechanisms of H5N1 influenza infection, which could help in the prevention, and treatment of disease.


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