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Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Science |

RNA-based vaccine could end flu

RNA-based vaccine could end flu

Traditional vaccines offer protection annual newer strains of influenza, the reason is that viruses mutate and evolve so fast that it becomes the starting point each year. A new Vaccine could provide the key to the end of the flu forever.

And current vaccines is working essentially in the study of our immune system to recognize a pair of key proteins HA and NA known as found in the virus. However, these proteins change constantly, and therefore the need for new vaccines constantly.

The key therefore is to find a way to point to something that never changes in the virus, which would in time immunity against multiple strains of influenza virus. In fact, an earlier proposal for a universal vaccine was to go after other proteins in the influenza virus that does not evolve as fast as HA and NA.

The idea is now being considered a new type of vaccine that targets RNA underlying process leading to the creation of the HA and NA proteins, regardless of its shape. According to Lothar Stitz, Friedrich-Loeffler Institute in Germany:

The mRNA that controls the production of HA and NA in the influenza virus can be mass produced in a few weeks. Could be converted into lyophilized powder without refrigeration, unlike most vaccines that must be kept cold.

An injection of mRNA is collected by immune cells, which translated into protein. These proteins are recognized by the body as foreign, generating an immune response. The immune system would be able to recognize these proteins if the virus is subsequently allowing it to fight the flu strain.

What German researchers have discovered a protein called protamine, a protein that protects vaccines that are removed by the bloodstream. A new path toward making a vaccine that can stop the flu forever. Scientists speak of a long process before confirming its effectiveness, although early results have been very promising.

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