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Scientists identify universal influenza vaccine

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influenzaScientists have found a potential universal influenza vaccine that could protect against most strains of the virus.

The vaccine called candidate is described in the journal Nature Communications, received a strong antibody response to a structure on the surface of flu viruses, called the hemagglutinin (HA) stalk.

 According to researchers, it protected mice from infection by various flu strains.

It has the potential to be developed into a universal flu vaccine.

“This vaccine was able to do something that most other candidate flu vaccines have not been able to do,” said Drew Weissman, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA.

“It was able to elicit protective responses against a conserved region that offers broad protection,” said Weissman.

“If it works in humans even half as well as it does in mice, then the sky’s the limit – it could be something that everyone uses in the future to protect themselves from the flu,” said Scott Hensley, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Typically, modern vaccines use lab-grown viral proteins to elicit an immune response that protects people against future exposure to a virus.

Seasonal flu vaccines have a temporary effect and protection against the flu. This is why they need to be updated every year.

The team also observed that after immunisation, these strong antibody responses to the vaccine persisted through the thirty weeks of the experiment.

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