Swine Flu Outbreak Map

27 February 2009

Second Research Team Finds Same Common Achilles’ Heel in Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Viruses

from PandemicFlu.gov

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, supported in part by the National Institutes of Health, have identified a common Achilles’ heel in a wide range of seasonal and pandemic influenza A viruses. The study found an infection-fighting protein, or human antibody, that neutralizes various influenza A virus subtypes by attaching to these viruses in the same place. This common attachment site provides a constant region of the flu virus for scientists to target in an effort to develop a so-called universal flu vaccine. Such a vaccine would overcome the annual struggle to make the seasonal flu vaccine match next year’s circulating flu strains and might help blunt emerging pandemic influenza viruses as well.

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