Tags: Cold/Flu | universal | flu | shot | lifetime | immunity | influenza

Breakthrough Promises One-Time Flu Shot

By    |   Monday, 06 July 2015 12:47 PM

Scientists at Rockefeller University, New York, are reporting a major step forward in the development of a universal one-time flu vaccine.

The advance, reported in the journal Cell, indicates chemical modifications to a specific region in antibodies could be used to improve current flu vaccines so that they might not need to be given every year, according to Medical News Today.

Flu vaccines are made to target a small number of viral strains based on public health experts' predictions of which influenza types are likely to be common in the year ahead. But scientists are working to develop a universal flu shot that will be effective against all strains, and the findings of this new study bring that elusive goal within reach.

"We believe these results may represent a preliminary step toward a universal flu vaccine, one that is effective against a broad range of the flu viruses," said Jeffrey Ravetch, head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at the Rockefeller University.

"While the conventional flu vaccine protects only against specific strains, usually three of them, our experiments show that by including modified antibodies within the vaccine it may be possible to elicit broad protection against many strains simultaneously."

The new study centered on a new strategy involving the so-called “Fc” region of antibodies that connects with immune cells. The researchers found changes to the region might improve an immune response to influenza in a way that could be lifelong.

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Monday, 06 July 2015 12:47 PM
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