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Universal flu jab could be just a few years away

Published on 19/07/2010
A vaccine that can protect people against all strains of flu could be just years away following a ground-breaking experiment.

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US have found a way to use flu virus DNA to protect against the illness.

They administered a vaccine of the DNA to mice, ferrets and monkeys to 'prime' their immune systems.

Then, as part of a two-step approach, the researchers administered a booster dose of a traditional flu vaccine.

This had the effect of allowing the body to produce antibodies to defend against a wide variety of flu strains including the deadly H5N1, also known as Bird Flu, the researchers reported in the journal Science.

"We are excited by these results," said Dr Gary Nabel.

"The prime-boost approach opens a new door to vaccinations for influenza that would be similar to vaccination against such diseases as hepatitis, where we vaccinate early in life and then boost immunity through occasional, additional inoculations in adulthood."

In the UK, about 600 people a year die from seasonal flu.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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