Universal flu vaccine comes closer to reality


Every year, many people roll up their sleeves for a flu shot. Howbeit, the influenza virus has thousands of strains and the vaccine can’t guard against all of them. But now, a team of researchers finally might be onto something.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified three types of vaccine-induced antibodies that can neutralize diverse strains of influenza virus that infect humans.
The discovery will help guide development of a universal influenza vaccine, according to the investigators.
Until now, scientists had only identified broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting the flu virus stem in humans following natural infection. The new research provides clear evidence that these antibodies can be induced by a vaccine.
The researchers examined blood samples from six people who had received a vaccine against H5N1 influenza, commonly known as the bird flu virus.
In the blood samples they identified B cells (a type of white blood cell that responds to infection by secreting antibodies) that reacted to various subtypes of influenza virus, and then characterized and classified the cells’ antibody genetic sequences.London.At times I was thinking ‘am I ungrateful for feeling this way after having survived when so many others don’t?’Prof Jane Maher, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We now see fewer of the big side-effects, such as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, we saw after treatment in the 1970s and 80s.
“But some of the effects doctors consider ‘small’, such as fatigue and poor bowel control, can have a profound impact on someone’s quality of life.Sadly there is no cancer treatment available at the moment that does not carry a risk of side-effects.”
The charity said although a growing number of people are surviving long-term with cancer, more needed to be done to make sure they got the right care.
The organisation says it has evolved from being a handful of nurses providing end-of-life care in the 1970s to a much bigger network that even includes benefits advisers.

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