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Medicine

Universal Flu Vaccine "Blueprint" Discovered 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the common-cure dept.
minty3 writes "Scientists say they used the pandemic as a 'natural experiment' to discover how the body's immune system builds resistance to the flu. The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, showed how certain immune cells helped some avoid the severe illness. 'Our findings suggest that by making the body produce more of this specific type of CD8 T cell, you can protect people against symptomatic illness,' said study leader Professor Ajit Lalvani, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, in a statement. 'This provides the blueprint for developing a universal flu vaccine.'"
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Universal Flu Vaccine "Blueprint" Discovered

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @03:58PM (#44927375)

    Right, try to kill a multibillion dollar annual industry and see how quickly this research just vanishes. /cynic

  • Cytokine Storms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday September 23, 2013 @04:35PM (#44927757) Homepage Journal

    It's not entirely clear from the abstract, so just for some background (of what I assume is behind the paywall) the main problem with severe flu is cytokine storms [jhsph.edu]. Basically, your immune system can get into a positive feedback loop trying to kill the virus and wind up killing most of the body's cells instead. In the Pandemic Flu of 1918, a great number of the dead were the healthiest ones with great immune systems.

    So I'm assuming what's going on here is that they've isolated the parts of the immune system that actually kill the flu, and have a plan to prime them for action. That would be super-awesome. The annual flu deaths, just in the US is in the 3000-49000 [cdc.gov] per year range. If you have to use government terms, that's at least a 9/11 every year, and if you have to spend a trillion dollars on something, this would be a much better target.

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