Researchers Working On Flu Vaccine That Could Protect Us For Life!

Researchers in Germany are working on a flu vaccine that they believe could protect us from the highly infectious virus for life!! As things currently stand, the flu vaccine works by letting our immune system recognize key proteins of the strain called NA and HA.
However, because the flu is always mutating, a new vaccine has to be manufactured each year, with experts having to play a guessing game of sorts as to which strain will be most virulent. Once that strain has been isolated, time is also needed to manufacture enough of the vaccine to distribute.

This new vaccine is being engineered from the messenger RNA (mRNA) – which is the genetic material that controls the production of protein.

Lothar Stitz of the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute in Riems Island, Germany is one of the researchers working on the new vaccine. He said it could be quickly manufactured in time to catch a pandemic because it can be turned into a freeze-dried powder that does not need refrigeration like most other vaccines.

When a person is given the new vaccine, their immune cells pick up the mRNA and translate it into protein. This protein is then recognized by the body as a foreign intrusion which generates an immune response. The immune system will then recognize the proteins the next time it encounters them enabling it to fight it off.

Previous trials into RNA vaccines have failed because they become destroyed in the blood, however CureVac (a company in Tübingen, Germany) has discovered a protein call protamine that binds to the mRNA and protects it. CureVac currently have mRNA vaccines against lung cancer and prostate cancer in the human trial stage of testing.

Stitz and his team of researchers are using CureVac’s process to make mRNA vaccines that could provide us with life-long flu protection and are also using cell-mediated immunity to improve its effectiveness.

Cell-mediated immunity is an immune response that does not involve anti-bodies, but activates blood cells such as T-cells to destroy specific pathogens. New Scientist said:

“Vaccines made only of the proteins do not elicit this type of response. Having both types of immunity clears infection faster, and can also protect against flu for longer, as cell-mediated reactions still recognize flu viruses after they have evolved enough to evade antibodies.”

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About Sheniz Raif

I am, and think I have always been, a writer. I’ve been scribbling stories since I was old enough to hold a pen and thoroughly enjoy using my words to make people laugh or inspire them. I love going to gigs and am a professional groupie for a couple of awesome bands. I am an avid fan of socializing, football, film, and refusing to grow up! I’m also a proud member of the BODO UK team!