Scientists announced Monday that they have discovered immune cells capable of fighting all known influenza viruses in what has been described as an "extraordinary breakthrough" that could lead to a universal vaccine in a single vaccine against the deadly disease. .
Influenza epidemics, mostly seasonal, kill hundreds of thousands of people each year, according to the World Health Organization.
Due to the mutation of its strains, the vaccine formulas need to be regularly updated and currently offer only limited protection.
Australian researchers have stated that "killer T cells" – found in more than half of the world's population – have been shown to be effective in fighting all common flu strains.
This means that the cells could potentially be used to develop a global influenza vaccine that would not need to be changed every year and even be effective in people who do not have them naturally.
"Influenza viruses continually mutate to escape the recognition of our immune system, and they are extremely diverse, making it almost impossible to predict and vaccinate against the strain that will cause the next influenza pandemic," said Marios Koutsakos. , researcher at the University of Melbourne. Doherty Institute.
T cells are a type of white blood cell that circulates in the body looking for abnormalities and infections. They are essential for human immunity against a multitude of invasive bacteria and viruses.
T cells called "killers" are unique in that they can directly target and kill other infected cells.
Koutsakos and his colleagues used mass spectrometry, a scanning technique that separates molecules according to their mass, to identify parts of the virus common to all influenza strains. C.
The flu is particularly dangerous for the elderly, children and those with compromised immune systems, as well as for certain ethnic groups who have never developed an immune response to the disease.
The team originally researched patented their discovery and researchers said that they hoped it would allow them to develop a universal vaccine against influenza "to reduce the impact of pandemic and seasonal flu around the world ".
The prediction of seasonal influenza strains improves the chances of a universal vaccine
© 2019 AFP
'Killer' cells spark hope for universal flu shot (18 February 2019)
recovered on February 19, 2019
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