Discovered ‘universal’ vaccine and therapies against flu
August 9, 2012 – A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute and Crucell Vaccine Institute in the Netherlands describes three human antibodies that provide broad protection against Influenza B virus strains. The same team had previously reported finding broadly neutralizing antibodies against Influenza A strains.
The isolation of the new broadly neutralizing antibodies, which was reported the journal Science’s advance online edition, Science Express, on August 9, paves the way for researchers to develop a universal antibody-based flu therapy for use in severe infections or to protect hospital staff during an outbreak. Importantly, these antibodies may provide key clues to the design of an active universal flu vaccine—designed to protect long-term against flu viruses, not just against the current season’s strains.
“To develop a truly universal flu vaccine or therapy, one needs to be able to provide protection against influenza A and influenza B viruses, and with this report we now have broadly neutralizing antibodies against both,” said Ian A. Wilson, the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology at Scripps Research, who was senior investigator for the new study with Crucell’s Jaap Goudsmit and Robert Friesen.