Discovery May Hold Key for Universal Flu Vaccine
(NEW YORK) -- We might not have a cure for the common cold, but scientists have discovered a potentially powerful new treatment for much more dangerous flu viruses.
Researchers at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and Crucell Vaccine Institute in the Netherlands say they have discovered a human antibody that protects against essentially all influenza A and B strains.
The researchers believe the antibody could be used to offer something that has never been available before – an actual treatment for patients who are infected with the flu. Currently, such patients are only given supportive treatment while their bodies fight off the infection on their own.
The discovery may even pave the way to a universal flu vaccine, effective against nearly all flu strains, that could be delivered in a one-time shot similar to immunization against diseases like chickenpox and measles.
Ideally, such a vaccine would eliminate the need for annual flu shots, which are specifically tailored to seasonal strains.
Their report appeared Thursday in the journal Science.
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