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NIH Scientists Advance Universal Flu Vaccine

Posted Jul 18 2010 1:22pm

A universal influenza vaccine—so-called because it could potentially provide protection from all flu strains for decades—may become a reality because of research led by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

In experiments with mice, ferrets and monkeys, the investigators used a two-step immunization approach to elicit infection-fighting antibodies that attacked a diverse array of influenza virus strains. Current flu vaccines do not generate such broadly neutralizing antibodies, so they must be re-formulated annually to match the predominant virus strains circulating each year.

The research, led by NIAID scientist Gary J. Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., appears online ahead of print July 15 in Science Express.

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