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  • 7/31/2011

Super antibody wards off flu

super antibody wards off flu

Animal experiments shows a newly discovered immune molecule named as "super antibody" can bring protection against all influenza A viruses.

The broadly neutralizing antibody, called FI6, is effective in building up immunity in lab mice and ferrets. This is believed to be a notable step forward in developing a universal vaccine that one shot of it would protect human against flu, said a study published in Science.

"The antibody works not only by neutralizing the virus, which we knew, but also by recruiting killer cells to the virus-infected cells," Antonio Lanzavecchia, lead researcher and director of Switzerland's Institute for Research in Biomedicine, told AFP. "This suggests that once tested in a human system, the antibodies should work even better."

Most efforts to develop a universal vaccine against flu have not led to full successful results as the traditional flu vaccines are based on proteins found in the external coat of flu virus, which change regularly due to mutations occurring during the reproduction process.

Therefore, scientists are working to target some common proteins inside flu virus that does not change or mutate.

The discovery of the new super antibody was made by using newly patented technology to screen hundreds of thousands of plasma cells in order to isolate the rare ones that produce the antibody.

"We are convinced that this is a very rare specificity but it is a very potent antibody," said Lanzavecchia. "As the first and only antibody which targets all known subtypes of the influenza A virus, FI6 represents an important new treatment option."

"We have a low-hanging fruit, which is the antibody itself and the potential use of the antibody as a drug," Lanzavecchia added. "Then we have the long-term project, which is the use of the information obtained from the antibody to make a vaccine."

Source: presstv.ir

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