09 Aug '11, 12am
US researchers find another influenza antibody
WASHINGTON (AFP) - SCIENTISTS in the United States have found an antibody that acts against 30 of 36 strains of influenza, the latest discovery in the hunt for a universal treatment and a vaccine, said a study published on Monday. The new broadly neutralising antibody, called CH65, can stick to the surface part of the flu virus known as hemagglutinin which mutates every season, forcing medical experts to regularly come up with a new vaccine. It was found in cells from a human volunteer who was given the flu vaccine for 2007, said the study in the Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences. 'What this tells us is that the human immune system can fine-tune its response to the flu and actually produce, albeit at a low frequency, antibodies that neutralise a whole series of strains,' said lead author Stephen Harrison of Children's Hospital Boston.