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Universal influenza vaccine, successful animal test

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Universal influenza vaccine, successful animal test

A universal flu vaccine that has been found to be protective against various variants of influenza viruses, both type A and B, has been successfully tested on animals. The study was conducted at Georgia State University and published in the journal Plos Pathogens. Influenza viruses tend to mutate rapidly, so much so that every season the vaccine is updated on the basis of an estimate of the new circulating strains. To make a universal vaccine, that is valid on different strains, it is necessary to use as “active principle” (antigen) a viral protein portion equal in all strains.

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So the experts set to work on a vaccine based on conserved portions of viral proteins known to activate the immune system – protein domains that are identical in all major influenza strains. Researchers tested the vaccine on mice and demonstrated its protective efficacy against seasonal influenza A variants and potentially pandemic virus variants (H1N1, H5N1, H3N2, H9N2 and H7N9) and again against variants of influenza A. influenza B (Yamagata and Victoria).

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“We have developed a single universal vaccine that induces immunity against conserved domains of viral proteins; we have demonstrated its efficacy against various influenza A and B viruses in both young and old mice,” he explained. Sang-Moo Kang, coordinator of the work. The study supports a new strategy to create a universal influenza vaccine, a single construct based on several viral protein fragments, which has the ability to produce immunity and offer broad-spectrum protection against severe disease and death. “The next step – concluded the researchers – will be to test the vaccine on ferrets, which have a respiratory system more similar to ours”.

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