British scientists believe they have found flu vaccines that may transfer long-lasting, wide-spread immunity, the ‘holy grail’ of the business. Unfortunately, they are still opting for the traditional injection model and not the preferred kissing application. Best of all, if this works, the local news will quit exploiting the ‘impending bird flu epidemic’ to increase ratings of peasant viewership.
Described as the ‘holy grail’ of flu vaccines, it would protect against all strains of influenza A – the virus behind both bird flu and the nastiest outbreaks of winter flu.
Just a couple of injections could give long-lasting immunity – unlike the current vaccine which has to be given every year.
The brainchild of scientists at Cambridge biotech firm Acambis, working with Belgian researchers, the vaccine will be tested on humans for the first time in the next few months.
A similar universal flu vaccine, being developed by Swiss vaccine firm Cytos Biotechnology, could also be tested on people in 2007 – and the vaccines on the market in around five years.
Importantly, the vaccines would also be quicker and easier to make than the traditional jabs, meaning vast quantities could be stockpiled against a global outbreak of bird flu.
Martin Bachmann, of Cytos, said: “You could really stockpile it. In the case of a pandemic, that would be a huge advantage.
The new jabs would be grown in huge vats of bacterial ‘soup’, with just two pints of liquid providing 10,000 doses of vaccine.
Current flu vaccines focus on two proteins on the surface of the virus. However, these constantly mutate in a bid to fool the immune system, making it impossible for vaccine manufacturers to keep up with the creation of each new strain.
The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the last 100 years.
The protein is found in all types of Influenza A, including the current bird flu and the virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which killed up to 50 million across the globe.
Normally, such vaccines would have to go through at least five years of human tests before going on the market. However, if a bird flu pandemic occurs before that, they could be made more quickly available.
Read more at the Daily Mail . . .