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This could be huge! Thousands die every year to flu, and in some cases millions, depending upon the strain. If this pans out, it will be a tremendous medical breakthrough.

'SHOT TO CURE FLU FOR LIFE'
Thu Aug 04 2005 19:34:29 ET

BRITISH scientists are developing a revolutionary vaccine that works against all types of flu, the UK DAILY MAIL fronts on Friday.

It would protect people against flu and a single jab could give lifelong immunity.

Currently, new vaccines have to be developed each year. The major breakthrough has been made by the Cambridge biotech firm Acambis.

When it announced the news yesterday the value of its shares jumped by 9p. Such a vaccine would be massively lucrative for its manufacturer.

Each year, flu kills up to 12,000 people in the UK, many of them elderly. But experts have been warning of a possible global pandemic of bird flu, which would infect a third of the world's population in just a year and kill hundreds of millions.

The current problem with fighting flu is that the virus is constantly mutating and producing new strains.

A new vaccine has to be produced each year to protect against the particular strains circulating at that time.

The scientists at Acambis, working with Belgian researchers, have created the first-ever 'broad spectrum' vaccine, which is effective against many of the most common types of flu.

They are now refining the formula to make a more advanced jab that could protect against all types.

This universal vaccine could soon enter human trials. Acambis says it would be quicker and easier to produce than current vaccines, which are created in fertilized chicken eggs.

Dr Thomas Monath, chief scientific officer at Acambis, said: 'The need to develop a new vaccine each time a different influenza strain emerges often results in long delays before a population can be protected.

'We aim to avoid the need for annual re- engineering and manufacture of new products, something that is not yet possible with existing vaccines.

'The technology also has special importance as a potential means of protecting human populations against pandemic influenza strains.'

The breakthrough is seen as so important to the future of the company, which specialises in vaccines, that it was announced to the stock market first.

The broad-spectrum vaccine is being tested on animals and the first human trials could start in a year.

The universal vaccine is still in an earlier stage of research.
Is this part of the Lazarus Long discussion?
Very cool stuff, can't wait to see how it does in human trials. Next is the common cold!
Don't get your hopes up. If the vaccine is all made for the intent of life-long protection, won't flu just merely evolve itself into another form that breaks through the lifelong protection before anyone actually experiences a lifetime?
Discussing about vaccines with pharmacists, doctors and fellow microbiologists the problem is that today pharmaceutical industry goes for profit. And money can be made in therapeutical drugs, not in vaccines. All vaccines available at the moment are produced by a handful of companies with a minimum profit, which is why even developed countries sometimes have problems with getting enough doses (recent problems in USA are far from being the only such case).

Not to mention that vaccination can have in a very, very small percentage of cases side effects. Because of these people are wondering if the risk is worth taking before you actually get sick.
Gunslinger Wrote:Don't get your hopes up. If the vaccine is all made for the intent of life-long protection, won't flu just merely evolve

Hmm... evolve where exactly? Do we know where does the flu hybernate?

Can it be eradicated the way smallpox was?
mv Wrote:Hmm... evolve where exactly? Do we know where does the flu hybernate?

Can it be eradicated the way smallpox was?

Evolve was a poor choice of words. Perhaps I should have used, 'adapt' instead. Its much more politically correct.

Things like virus's, bacteria, and common illnesses, when finding they cannot penetrate their "hosts" immune system, they naturally learn to adapt around the immune system to affect the host and grow inside.

But, it could also work to an opposite affect as well. Flu could simply not adapt to the stronger immune systems, and adapt to affect other potential hosts/animals.
Gunslinger Wrote:
mv Wrote:Hmm... evolve where exactly? Do we know where does the flu hybernate?

Can it be eradicated the way smallpox was?

Evolve was a poor choice of words. Perhaps I should have used, 'adapt' instead. Its much more politically correct.

Things like virus's, bacteria, and common illnesses, when finding they cannot penetrate their "hosts" immune system, they naturally learn to adapt around the immune system to affect the host and grow inside.

But, it could also work to an opposite affect as well. Flu could simply not adapt to the stronger immune systems, and adapt to affect other potential hosts/animals.

Hopefully the researchers would take this problem into account since it is what makes the flu so fluish.
You're starting to see doctors quit perscribing antibiotics because the microbes making people sick are starting to be able to defeat the antibiotics. Pennicilin is becoming less and less effective. Kind of scary. Shock
The key word you both are searching for is "mutate". Since viruses have such a short lifespan, they are able to mutate faster than longer lived organisms. Thus, the greater the number of surviving mutations, the quicker this mutation increases and defeats the very antibiotics we are using to kill them.
What everyone fears is the "sport" mutation which develops as an entirely different organism. Such a mutation can thrive when others are killed off, and attempts to kill it, just isolate the colony from other strains and allow it free rein.

That's why the recent emphasis on taking all the med's prescribed until they are all used - even though you fell better - has arisen. Partial killing of some organisms allow the ones that are left to concentrate and grow resistant to standard treatment.

That's one reason illnesses contracted from hospitals are so virulent.
WmLambert Wrote:What everyone fears is the "sport" mutation which develops as an entirely different organism. Such a mutation can thrive when others are killed off, and attempts to kill it, just isolate the colony from other strains and allow it free rein.

That's why the recent emphasis on taking all the med's prescribed until they are all used - even though you fell better - has arisen. Partial killing of some organisms allow the ones that are left to concentrate and grow resistant to standard treatment.

That's one reason illnesses contracted from hospitals are so virulent.

Much like modern pesticides. You kill the majority in a field, but what you are left with is super resistant insects capable of leaping small buildings in a single bound.
Pericles, you've done it again! First the Parthenon - now, the Kryptonite Flue shot.