August 2, 2011- Recent research in flu-infected mice has indicated there is an antibody that will work against all influenza A type viruses. Just published in the Science Express the research showed that in emergency situations, the antibody could be a “treatment”. The hope is a universal vaccine will come out of the research
The research was described by virologists as a step in the right direction. More than one hundred thousand immune cell samples were researched that had the flu vaccine or the flu. The researchers were from the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill and Swiss colleagues.
They found that one antibody, known as FI6, targeted the protein found on influenza A viruses’ surface known as haemagglutinin. One of the Mill Hill scientists, Sir John Skehel said: “every influenza A subtype was tried and FI6 interacted with all of them.”
Many are calling the FI6 antibody a new treatment option as it was described by professor Antonio Lanzavecchia as, “the only and first antibody that targets all types of influenza A virus.”
Mice were given the new antibody and then were given a lethal dose of the virus H1N1 and the antibody completely protected the mice from the virus. But it must be pointed out that it is an antibody not a vaccine. The difference the vaccine needs the immune system of the human to produce the antibody FI6.