Scientists have made major progress towards more effective, long-lasting flu vaccine which can eliminate the need for repeated seasonal flu shots.
Researcher Ian Wilson of The Scripps Research Institute said that this study showed that they were moving in the right direction for a universal flu vaccine.
In the study, researchers zeroed in on a protein on the surface of influenza, called hemagglutinin (HA) which is present on all subtypes of influenza, providing the key viral ‘machinery’ that enables the virus to enter cells.
They studied the response of rodent and nonhuman primate models given one of several candidate immunogens and found that animals given one especially stable immunogen produced antibodies that could bind with HAs in many influenza subtypes, even neutralising H5N1 viruses.
Wilson said that the next step in this research was to see if the immunogen could do the same in humans, and added that the ultimate goal would be to create a life-long vaccine.
The study is published in the Journal Science.