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February 23, 2009

Human monoclonal antibodies neutralize multiple strains of seasonal and pandemic flu

Topics: Health Issues

There's news of an exciting research finding that scientists believe holds considerable promise for further development into a medical tool to treat and prevent seasonal as well as pandemic influenza:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2009) - Scientists have identified a small family of lab-made proteins that neutralize a broad range of influenza A viruses, including the H5N1 avian virus, the 1918 pandemic influenza virus and seasonal H1N1 flu viruses. These human monoclonal antibodies, identical infection-fighting proteins derived from the same cell lineage, also were found to protect mice from illness caused by H5N1 and other influenza A viruses.

[...] Because large quantities of monoclonal antibodies can be made relatively quickly, after more testing, these influenza-specific monoclonal antibodies potentially could be used in combination with antiviral drugs to prevent or treat the flu during an influenza outbreak or pandemic.

[...] "This is an elegant research finding that holds considerable promise for further development into a medical tool to treat and prevent seasonal as well as pandemic influenza," notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "In the event of an influenza pandemic, human monoclonal antibodies could be an important adjunct to antiviral drugs to contain the outbreak until a vaccine becomes available."

[...] Their findings could also assist vaccine developers. Current influenza vaccines target the constantly mutating head of the HA protein and do not readily generate antibodies against the conserved region in the neck.

"An important goal is to redirect the immune response of vaccines to this invariable region of the hemagglutinin to try to obtain durable lifelong immunity," Dr. Marasco states.

More ...

As important as this development is, it will still be years before a product could be ready to be marketed for human use.

Posted by Hyscience at February 23, 2009 3:00 PM



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