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Universal Flu Vaccine "Blueprint" Discovered 100

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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  • Why bury? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @04:08PM (#44927485) Journal

    If I was a multibillion dollar industry I'd very much appreciate the fact of having a product that gets sold to every human being on the planet, every year right about the time for holidays, scoring me a big boost in the Q4.

    But then again I also believe that based on available evidence it was Lee Harvey Oswald that shot Kennedy.

  • by Frojack123 ( 2606639 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @04:17PM (#44927563)

    ....or alternatively what do you want to bet that this will be priced to a point where it will be impossible for the normal person to take advantage of.

    Exactly like polio vaccine.

    Oh, wait...

  • why universal? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by green is the enemy ( 3021751 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @04:21PM (#44927603)

    “The immune system produces these CD8 T cells in response to the usual seasonal flu,” Lalvani said. “Unlike antibodies, they target the core of the virus, which doesn’t change, even in new pandemic strains.”

    This simple argument does not entirely convince me that they found a universal vaccine. Proving that it is universal should require extensive experiments on many different strains. Can any experts pitch in why they really did find the key to a universal flu vaccine?

  • by omkhar ( 167195 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @04:52PM (#44927937)

    I believe the US congress has already been proven to be immune to common sense ;)

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @04:57PM (#44927991)

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

    Did the polio vaccine kill big pharma? The vaccines for measles, shingles, cervical cancer? The answer, of course, is no. Timeline of vaccines [wikipedia.org]

    The pharmaceutical industry --- like the life insurance industry ---- benefits from a population that is active, healthy, prosperous, and long-lived

  • Q4 is a myth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @05:17PM (#44928201)

    Flu isn't prevalent in Q4 or any specific time of the year at all, especially on a global scale. The reason why people get flu more often in bad weather conditions is because they all crowd inside and the contamination risk is much higher when the people density is up.

    Also, it has nothing to do with your "resistance" and vitamin C doesn't help cure the flu. Flu is not a common cold but an entirely different strain of virus. Both are not the least impressed with people eating vitamin C or drinking orange juice. The only thing that vitamin C will help against is a vitamin C deficiency. Whether you will get ill from any of these viruses is mostly determined by how well adapted you already are against that particular virus or something close enough related. You will get infected, you possibly will spread the virus, you just won't get any major symptoms if your body is able to deal with it in an efficient way.

  • Re:Why bury? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @08:43PM (#44929993) Journal

    If I was a multibillion dollar industry I'd very much appreciate the fact of having a product that gets sold to every human being on the planet, every year right about the time for holidays, scoring me a big boost in the Q4.

    One would think so.
    The reality is that seasonal flu vaccines are not very profitable.
    At one point, in 2004, the USA was down to just 2 manufacturers.

    The only thing keeping the vaccine market afloat is large orders from Federal and State governments.
    Without those Government orders, the vaccine market in the USA would collapse.

    In addition to everything I just mentioned, there's almost no spare capacity in the vaccine industry.
    So if someone shuts down a plant, those dosages are not going to be replaced by a competitor.

  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @09:23PM (#44930243)

    Scientist discovers the explanation for a piece of a phenomenon.

    Journalist makes up a news stating it will lead to a cure for cancer/autism/flu/aging/diabetes/whatever

    If you read a bunch of scientific news titles, you could wonder why we are not immortals yet. It would be nice if scientific journalists could stop writing their headlines with the idea that readers are stupids

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.