People often mistake the flu for a very bad cold. However, influenza is an extremely serious condition that kills an estimated 650,000 people globally each year. Even those who recover from this illness can expect weeks of severe symptoms that often leave them unable to work and bedridden. For this reason, researchers have spent decades researching the different strains of influenza, looking for effective cures, and working on vaccines that prevent people from contracting the disease in the first instance.
The research has had some fantastic results, and there are many countries around the world that now offer vaccinations against influenza to the people who are most vulnerable. Unfortunately, there are still many strains of influenza that the vaccinations cannot protect people against. This is a problem that scientists have continued to work on resolving. Researchers are now excited about an experimental treatment that they believe will protect people against broad strains of influenza. It is even possible that the new treatment could protect people against strains of the flu that are currently fatal.
Not only is this research exciting because it protects against the fatal strains of the flu, but it is also exciting because it only needs delivering once. The vaccine for measles is given once in childhood and this protects the recipient of the vaccine from measles for the rest of their life. This is because the strain of measles virus does not change. Influenza differs because the strains are constantly changing. Currently, this means that vulnerable people are given the vaccine annually and that the vaccine is constantly adapted to tackle current strains of the virus. The new treatment offers the potential to vaccinate only once, just like the vaccination for measles.
This experimental treatment has not yet been tested on humans, so it is still some time before this treatment becomes available. However, the initial signs are good, and doctors believe that this new molecule has the potential to become the cure for flu for which people have been praying. The journal ‘Nature’ has published a new paper that describes how the treatment works. According to this paper, the molecule in the vaccination works by mimicking the body’s natural use of antibodies to fight against viruses.
Ian Wilson is a biologist at the Science Research Institute. He is also the co-author of the paper published in ‘Nature’. He has said that he is very surprised that the molecule can do this and that it is not something he would have believed possible a decade ago. Wilson also says that the study is proof that manageable, small drugs have the potential to behave just like really powerful antibodies in the human body.
So far, the extent of the research is to test the new drug using mice in a laboratory. This research involved exposing the mice to lethal levels of the flu. The study was so successful that 100 percent of the mice in the study that had been given the new treatment survived.
According to NPR, the treatment has also been tested on the lung cells of humans that had been grown in a laboratory environment. This could pave the way to human trials, which are vital before the researchers can launch the vaccination. This research has attracted interest from professionals in all fields of medicine and science, with many of these professionals praising the work and expressing their hope that the vaccination offers some hope.
One such professional is Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Although not involved in the research, Bloom has said that it is a very interesting study and that the approach taken could provide the much-needed drugs in the fight against influenza. Bloom is not alone in these opinions as the research has excited everyone in the science and medicine industries.
While there is still some way to go before the vaccination is available, it is a giant leap in the fight against influenza. It has given hope that there is the potential to significantly reduce the number of deaths caused by influenza across the globe. If the human trails show the same level of success as the trials conducted with mice, it is even possible that this vaccine could become available within the next decade.