Researchers identify key peptides that could lead to a universal vaccine for influenza
“We have found that there is an important role for T-cells that recognise the flu virus, which if harnessed could protect against most or even all strains of seasonal and pandemic flu. Through this discovery we hope to improve vaccines for future strains of influenza; and potentially protect against the next pandemic. However there is more to do to translate these findings into new approaches to treatment.”
- Dr Tom Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Southampton
Researchers have discovered a series of peptides, found on the internal structures of influenza viruses that could lead to the development of a universal vaccine for influenza, one that gives people immunity against all strains of the disease, including seasonal, avian, and swine flu.
Influenza, an acute viral infection, affects hundreds of thousands of people a year and puts an enormous strain on healthcare providers globally. The last pandemic flu outbreak in the UK – swine flu – was in 2009 when it claimed 457 lives. While previous pandemics have been more serious, there is a heightened risk of more severe pandemics in the future.