'Holy grail' of flu vaccine injections to be tested

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Another vaccination breakthrough. Let's hope, these 2 shots will be fully tested and the side-effects will be very minimal. So we will be immune to existing influenza viruses. Ok. What do you think will happen to the virus and to us? The virus will mutate and reappear in more dangerous form. As for us, our immune system will have one less exercise to perform. I don't believe a human can be immune to every diseases. Diseases are keeping our immune system fit. Drugs and vaccinations won't hold for newer variations of viral diseases. This is a vicious circle...

flu vaccineScientists are on the verge of producing a revolutionary flu vaccine that works against all major types of the disease.

Described as the "holy grail" of flu protection, it would fight off all strains of influenza A, the virus behind both bird flu and the nastiest outbreaks of winter flu.

Two injections could give long-lasting immunity, unlike the current vaccine which has to be administered every year.

The jab, which will be tested on humans for the first time in the next few months, would also be quicker and easier to make, meaning vast quantities could be stockpiled against a global outbreak of bird flu.

Constant changes in the virus's appearance have until now made it impossible to create a single effective vaccine.

A new one is made each year to protect against the particular strains circulating at the time.

In addition, the virus used in the jab is grown in hen's eggs – a time-consuming process that yields just one shot of vaccine per egg.

The new version would be grown in huge vats of bacterial "soup", with just two pints of liquid providing 10,000 doses of vaccine.

The breakthrough was achieved by scientists at the British biotech firm Acambis, working with Belgian researchers.

A similar universal vaccine is being developed by the Swiss firm Cytos Biotechnology. Both could be on the market in about five years.

Current flu vaccines focus on two proteins on the surface of the virus. However, these constantly mutate, making it impossible for vaccine manufacturers to keep up with the evolution of each new strain.

The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the past 100 years.

It 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 worldwide.

source - Daily Telegraph