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Oxford University Tests Universal Flu Vaccine

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the one-size-fits-all dept.

Medicine 218

dbune writes "A universal flu vaccine has been tested by scientists at Oxford University. '... the vaccine targets proteins inside the flu virus that are common across all strains, instead of those that sit on the virus's external coat, which are liable to mutate. If used widely a universal flu vaccine could prevent pandemics, such as the swine flu outbreaks of recent years, and end the need for a seasonal flu jab.'"

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Hmm.. (1)

teknifix (1654213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133774)

This almost sounds too good to be true.

Re:Hmm.. (3, Interesting)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133914)

In her trial, Gilbert vaccinated 11 healthy volunteers and then infected them, along with 11 non-vaccinated volunteers, with the Wisconsin strain of the H3N2 influenza A virus, which was first isolated in 2005.

"Fewer of the people who were vaccinated got flu than the people who weren't vaccinated," said Gilbert.

Can you guess where I'm going with this? ..... Small.... sample.... size....

Here's a hint: Yesterday, the NFC won the coin toss for the super bowl. That makes 14 years in a row that the NFC has won the coin toss. Does that prove that the coin toss is not random?

Re:Hmm.. (5, Informative)

Damarkus13 (1000963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133988)

Way to cherry pick a quote. Here's the rest of it.

"We did get an indication that the vaccine was protecting people, not only from the numbers of people who got flu but also from looking at their T-cells before we gave them flu. The people we vaccinated had T-cells that were more activated. The people we hadn't vaccinated had T-cells as well but they were in a resting state so they would probably have taken longer to do anything. The volunteers we vaccinated had T-cells that were activated, primed and ready to kill. There were more T-cells in people we vaccinated and they were more activated."

This test appears to be about safety and confirming some sort of t-cell response, not effectiveness.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134004)

It's plausible. It's been done for toxins. But the moment anyone uses this in Pigs to protect them it will be worthless in a few years.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134108)

Only if you sleep with your pigs.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134142)

Yeah, it sounds like a good excuse for big pharma to give us all autism!

(I'm joking, by the way.)

Horatio says... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133780)

This... *sunglasses* ...is nothing to sneeze at.

YEAAAAAAAAAAH!

Re:Horatio says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134676)

YEAAAAAAAH-CHOOOO!

1 question (0)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133782)

Does it cause autism?

Re:1 question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133802)

One Answer: No

Re:1 question (3, Funny)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133838)

Does it ever! Not only does it cause autism, it will cause all children under 16 years of age to mutate into cannibalistic 30-feet-tall ivory-skinned humanoids with six fingers and large feathery wings! Buy a batch now - our special Rapture(TM) offering lasts only until the breaking of the Seventh Seal or the destruction of our facilities and board members by fire and brimstone, whichever comes first!

Re:1 question (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134206)

it will cause all children under 16 years of age to mutate into cannibalistic 30-feet-tall ivory-skinned humanoids with six fingers and large feathery wings!

But look on the bright side, if you are able to survive the zombie apocalypse for a couple of years until these people come of age you will finally able to get authentic barely legal giantess porn with a bestiality twist thrown in!

Re:1 question (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134030)

Of course it does! All those dirty vaccines have mercury in them, and mercury causes autism! That doctor in the UK said so!

Oh, wait, you mean he completely cooked that study for his own gain? Well, mercury still causes autism! I'm not sure why, but I'm sure it does!

Oh, wait, you mean thimerosal was pulled from just about all childhood vaccines ten years ago and they no longer have any mercury in them? Well, they still cause autism! I don't know why, but I'm sure they do!

Re:1 question (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134408)

I appreciate all the responses to my initial comment, but since I had all my shots I just can't relate...

Re:1 question (5, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134484)

The desperate hangers-on to the entirely discredited "vaccine" = "autism" theory recall another bizarre and desperate group I saw on a TV show the other day.

      They were having a panel of "crop circle experts" discuss all the mysterious alien influences and methodology underlying a nearby crop circle flap. After a few hours, some people stand up at the back, and state that *they* made the crop circles. They also showed a video-tape of themselves making the crop circles. The crop circle experts claimed - in all seriousness - that the aliens FAKED the tape, and then brainwashed the people into claiming they were responsible.

     

Re:1 question (1)

porl (932021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134636)

I don't know why I'm yelling, but I am!

side effects include... (4, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133812)

counting toothpicks and knowing when to double down.

Worldwide death toll (5, Insightful)

proxima (165692) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133830)

The worldwide death toll from the flu and its complications is in the hundreds of thousands [paho.org] . This is potentially more than just preventing an occasional annoying illness. It's more on the order of preventing all fatalities from traffic accidents.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133882)

I'm betting it'll still get blamed for Autism, despite the vaccination being 1 mercury-free shot.
Why? Because Autism won't go away 100% even if we only give one (or zero) vaccines.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133944)

What if they someday develop a vaccine (I'm using the term loosely, I know) that prevents Autism? Will the parents' heads explode with the dilemma?

Re:Worldwide death toll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134008)

Dont worry, there will never be one!

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134482)

Nope, because everybody knows that particular shot causes dyslexia.

Re:Worldwide death toll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133986)

I'd like to see the anti-vaxxers backpeddle if this works. There's already a bunch of them who say bafflingly stupid things like 'smallpox wasn't stopped by vaccines' and 'measles never hurt anyone.' I'd like to see something like this stamp out the flu, not only for the obvious reasons, but to watch them hurry up and claim that the flu was never that big a deal anyway, that it just went away on its own, and that flu outbreaks in unvaccinated areas are just coincidences. We all know they'd do it.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134460)

There's already a bunch of them who say bafflingly stupid things like 'smallpox wasn't stopped by vaccines' and 'measles never hurt anyone.'

The most bafflingly (great modifier, btw) stupid is when the anti-vaxxers (great noun, btw) say "We don't vaccinate our children because we believe that living a healthy lifestyle is the best protection." Whatever the hell that means.

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134254)

If the crazy lines for the regular seasonal flu shot are any indicator, very few people are concerned about it.

Re:Worldwide death toll (3, Insightful)

much noisier (1650985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134018)

I don't seek to undermine your important point, but I'd prefer to prevent all fatalities from traffic accidents. The people who die in car crashes probably have a better average quality of life and higher average remaining life expectancy than the typical person who dies of flu.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134146)

I don't seek to undermine your important point, but I'd prefer to prevent all fatalities from traffic accidents. The people who die in car crashes probably have a better average quality of life and higher average remaining life expectancy than the typical person who dies of flu.

Tough call without lots of additional data. According to a couple of web sites I just found, the large majority of influenza deaths are from people over 65 (don't know how that breaks down by country though). But there's another peak for the very young as well in the demographic curve, and the very young represent the majority of influenza hospitalizations (and thus societal costs), although not necessarily mortalities.

While influenza infections are more likely to be by random association, car fatalities have a certain element of Darwinian selection to them (people doing stupid things in cars) although somewhat imperfect as they can carry collateral loss of innocent lives.

Tough call which is the greater good, preventing all automobile fatalities, or preventing all influenza deaths.

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134580)

Tough call which is the greater good, preventing all automobile fatalities, or preventing all influenza deaths.

Not that tough really. In the absence of a perfect and universal flu vaccine you simply can't prevent all influenza deaths. I can come up with several solutions to prevent all automobile fatalities, but nobody would like them, they wouldn't get implemented (or obeyed), and people would still die on the roads.

If you do the cost/benefit analysis on it then the answer is pretty easy. I bet the billions of dollars being spent on flu vaccine could save thousands or millions of lives (and all the other associated costs of being sick) over a 20 year period, but those same billions of dollars wouldn't make a significant dent in automobile fatalities over the same 20 year period.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134310)

The people who die in car crashes probably have a better average quality of life.

Wow, that's a very subjective point of view.

What you find important for *your* quality of life may differ greatly for other individuals.

And to discount another's worth based on your perception of their life quality may not be appropriate.

Re:Worldwide death toll (4, Informative)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134558)

Actually, when dealing with vaccines, quality of life is quantified and fairly objective. The term is "Quality-Adjusted Life Year [wikipedia.org] . Life-years are measured, so a young child dying has more bearing than an elderly person, and the quality of each year is measured from zero (dead) to one (perfectly healthy). Technically, the range is a bit beyond that, as certain impairments are weighted as negative numbers, i.e. worse than death.

Being subjective doesn't get you anywhere. If there are only enough healthcare dollars to save Frank xor Joe, then you need objective criteria for determining which you save. Frank doesn't get to die just because he isn't "enjoying life" enough. Discounting life based on perceived quality is exactly what we do. Take the terminal cancer patient for example. We could let them die in as little pain as possible when the usual treatment options fail, or we could perform CPR until every rib is broken and defibrillate until their chest is burnt leather, from the reasoning that, even in their pain-filled non-communicative state, we can't make judgments of their quality of life.

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134712)

Good points, and I agree.

My issue still persists in that you still need to be subjective in determining the objective criteria - I'm not claiming there is a better way though.

The parent to which I replied did not seem to be referring to the same objective measures you raise.

Re:Worldwide death toll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134502)

And its typically children who die from flu. And you would prefer the weak children to die rather than people in cars (both adults and children).

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134560)

This is probably a bit of a stretch, but I remember driving home from work the day I came down with swine[1] flu. Nearly caused 3 accidents myself. In retrospect I should have gotten a lift home but like being drunk, you don't always appreciate how incapacitated you are at the time. Even without people dying as a direct result of the flu there is still a huge cost to it, even if you just count the sick days.

[1] never actually diagnosed as 'swine flu' specifically, but it was at the peak of the swine flu season and I was sicker than I ever remember being before and the general consensus was that if you had a bad flu it was probably swine flu...

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

mibe (1778804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134670)

Well yes maybe you would prefer that, but unfortunately it is much harder to make a vaccine against traffic.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134072)

However, a vaccine is less effective for anyone with a seriously weaken immune system, which is frequently what makes people die from the flu anyway. While this vaccine might reduce that number significantly, it won't keep people from dying of the flu.

OTOH though, a reduction in carriers can only help people avoid catching it anyhow.

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134192)

While true that recent flu strains have mostly killed those with weak immune systems(which actually does include very small children who probably would have survived if they hadn't caught the flu), in the past various flu strains have killed large numbers of otherwise healthy adults. It is these deaths that this vaccine can theoretically prevent, and none too soon. Statistically we are actually overdue for one of those strains to hit, which is part of what fuels the media frenzy every time a new strain of flu is discovered.

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

shermo (1284310) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134442)

Statistically we are actually overdue for one of those strains to hit, which is part of what fuels the media frenzy every time a new strain of flu is discovered.

Please, you give them too much credit.

Re:Worldwide death toll (0, Troll)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134422)

Here in Finland many children have got narcolepsy (for life!) as a "side effect" from the H1N1 vaccine. If anyone ever will try to give me a "universal vaccine" I'll scream. Imagine what it's like to have a 7 year-old who falls asleep while eating, waiting for the school-bus, in class etc., and can't remember what they were thinking about just 10 seconds ago. All parents have had to quit their jobs and take care of the children. "Thank you modern software medicine". Why would a healthy person need a flu vaccine anyway? Flu's are normal and should exist, and, if you're healthy you'll manage through a flu just fine. Stop playing with nature.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134480)

Why would a healthy person need a flu vaccine anyway? Flu's [sic] are normal and should exist, and, if you're healthy you'll manage through a flu just fine.

I'm married, I have two kids under the age of 3, why on earth would I want to risk catching the flu? I'm not going to die, but I am going to be miserable, my wife's going to stress having to look after me *and* the kids and I'm going to pass it to everyone at home.

Stop playing with nature.

Vaccines aren't 'playing with nature' - They're using one of nature's own greatest inventions (the immune system) to protect you.

Do you think chemotherapy for cancer patients is "playing with nature" and my friends who've had cancer should have just been left to die? Do you think antibiotics (which target bacteria) are "playing with nature" and we should amputate infected limbs instead? What a crazy nonsensical thing to say.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134490)

You're trolling, right? Can you at least back that up with some sort of a citation.

Re:Worldwide death toll (2)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134814)

Here in Finland many children have got narcolepsy (for life!) as a "side effect" from the H1N1 vaccine. .

No they have not. Vaccinations were suspended on fear of a possible link. But no evidence has been found. Just another false alarm that get far more media attention than the subsequent negative findings.
A classic example of hysterical anti-vaccine, anti-science rumour-mongering here.

Re:Worldwide death toll (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134836)

Here in Finland many children have got narcolepsy (for life!) as a "side effect" from the H1N1 vaccine.

Children in Finland may have been diagnosed with narcolepsy.

But I call bullshit on your claim this is a "side effect" from H1N1 vaccine. There is no evidence to suggest H1N1 vaccine can cause narcolepsy.

Side effects: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133832)

Shrinkage and uncontrollable flatulence.

Well, it's as realistic as it causing autism or metal toxicity via thermasol.
 

Re:Side effects: (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133948)

Shrinkage and uncontrollable flatulence.

Well, it's as realistic as it causing autism or metal toxicity via thermasol.

Scleroderma?

Re:Side effects: (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134162)

Scleroderma?

OK, I'll bite - Scleroderma is seemingly genetic, so ... ?

Re:Side effects: (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134810)

"Papa Doc" Duvalier of Haiti once threatened to cause "shrinker" in his enemies.

It does seem to be genetically predisposed; however, I think it can be treated as autoimmune.

At least I did not reference the merchants' use of shrinkage meaning theft.

What is the point? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133834)

We all know that the drug manufacturers wont produce this vaccine. Currently they have a constant revenue stream with a new vaccine needed seasonly. Greed is better than a cure. It's a false hope.

Re:What is the point? (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134272)

On the contrary, they will produce this vaccine. Especially since it does nothing to address animal reservoirs of influenza, so they get to sell vaccines to everyone in the world and since influenza is not eradicated by it - for a long time.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134390)

No, you mean American drug manufacturers won't manufacture this vaccine. Other drug companies will and it won't be for sale in the USA.

"Insightful," my ass. (5, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134510)

We all know that the drug manufacturers wont produce this vaccine. Currently they have a constant revenue stream with a new vaccine needed seasonly. Greed is better than a cure. It's a false hope.

Why does this nonsense always get a mod-up?

Look around you.

See anyone dying of Smallpox? Measles? Polio? Diphtheria? Tetanus? Has your daughter received the HPV - Cervical Cancer vaccine?

There is big money to made in treating cancer.

Why do you suppose that this vaccine wasn't suppressed?

The answer is that the cure brings with it a new level of understanding. It exposes opportunites that had never before been seiously considered.

When most men and women were in failing health along about age 45 or so, it didn't make much sense to put real money into studying arthritis, cancer, glaucoma, senile dementias, and so on.

Zombies (5, Funny)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133848)

Isn't this how most modern zombie movies start?

Evolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133850)

Part of the reason that those parts of the virus change is because we target them, and therefore cause evolutionary selection. This will work for one year like any other vaccine and become obsolete. No part of any quickly-evolving virus is too vital to change.

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133892)

Part of the reason that those parts of the virus change is because we target them, and therefore cause evolutionary selection. This will work for one year like any other vaccine and become obsolete. No part of any quickly-evolving virus is too vital to change.

Sounds like you've got yourself a really good shiny PhD in viral molecular biology there. Where'd you get it?

Re:Evolution (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134048)

Gee, did you even notice the distinction between this vaccine and seasonal vaccines, as in this one targets proteins that are far less likely to mutate?

Re:Evolution (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134290)

You do realize that humans have in fact been able to completely eliminate a virus before, right? Smallpox no longer exists "in the wild", humans managed to eradicate it completely and it never evolved any meaningful defenses. And we are *almost* there with polio(the problem is mainly distributing the vaccine, not with any viral resistance to said vaccine).

While mutations certainly help a virus in evading the immune system there are some parts of the virus(namely how it binds to the host cell) that cannot readily change without severely inhibiting a virus's ability to attach to host cells and thus replicate.

However just knowing which proteins don't vary isn't enough, you have to be able to find a way to actually attack said protein without causing harm to health tissue. Of course whenever someone mentions HIV. Researchers have actually found proteins(namely gp120) in HIV which are pretty invariant and necessary for host cell entry, but thus far haven't been too successful in coming up with a drug that attacks this protein without hurting healthy cells or causing the bodies own immune system to turn on itself. For more info, see 'kipedia

Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133884)

that could maybe explain how this might work?
So, instead of injecting with weakened viruses so that the body can create anti-bodies that attach to the viruses and de-activate them;
This vaccine injects flu proteins that makes T-cells target flu infected cells?

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (3, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134098)

Well, I am by no means an expert on this stuff, but I think the idea is to make what's called a protein subunit vaccine. They take a key protein from the disease and implant it in some other virus. Your body attacks that virus and develops an immune response to the targeted protein. It's being used in experimental vaccines for AIDS and, apparently, Influenza. However, I don't know if there are any cases of it being done successfully on a large scale.

If it works out, it would be fantastic - effective vaccination for two of the worlds biggest killers, which could potentially save millions of lives per year. However, first they need to get it working, and then they need to find a way to make it cheap enough to use in the third world, since that's where most of the deaths occur. It might help that a universal flu vaccine would be very popular in the first world, and could provide them with the money to ramp production.

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (1)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134214)

I love that there's this kind of development in vaccination, but I'm concerned.
Call me callous and cold, but overpopulation is already a major issue in many parts of the world (India, China, etc)
I wonder if it's such a good idea to simply "wipe out" the world's two biggest killers.

We would rather cling to the planet until we kill it than let ourselves decline. Nothing else does this to its environment, except ironically, diseases. And with no method of "transmission" to another host, we're boned if we keep going the same direction we are.

Now, we're not at the point where this is a world-changing issue quite yet, but within the next hundred years, as far as we can tell, we will crash in population. We've exceeded carrying capacity. Let me clarify that I don't believe that knocking down society to become hunter gatherers is at all a good idea, but rather, we should work towards more efficient and sustainable ways to live using the technology we have.

Just a cynical thought.

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134400)

If you really want to be a cynical bastard, you could say it'd be great to get rid of the random killers like influenza so we can wipe out populations in a more controlled manner. War or severe economic sanctions might do the trick, for instance. Hail Malthus and all that.

I like your idea about better sustainability better.

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (0)

246o1 (914193) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134426)

One day we will have to, as a species, find an ethical way of limiting population growth. Might as well start now. (Which is to say, yes, we should continue to cure diseases and treat sick people, and make the problem more acute, since the worst possible outcome - genocide, is roughly equivalent to not providing healthcare to the poor, which you propose)

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (3, Insightful)

Imrik (148191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134430)

Oddly enough, reducing mortality rates goes a long ways towards lowering population growth. People who expect their children to survive will have fewer of them and invest more resources into the ones they have.

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134514)

I was going to post that. Another thing which is really great for decreasing population growth is ensuring that parents don't have to be supported by their children in old age. That reduces the pressure to produce many children and as a result parents tend to have fewer children or none at all of their own choosing.

Re:Anybody with knowledge in the field.. (1)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134554)

unfortunately many of the world's populations do not have the resources to be able to afford such luxuries.
I hate to be the one to bring these polarizing issues up, but it is something that will come to bite us unless we work for efficient technology and _actual_ global prosperity so that most of the world can live like the western world does, able to choose if they want children, often stopping at two or three.

Meh. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133924)

Bet it won't work against the Thelusian flu.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134130)

Is your name Barash?

Of course there's one question (4, Funny)

Petersko (564140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133940)

Will one shot be sufficient to turn me completely autistic? Or do I need booster shots? I'd better consult the best source possible: Jenny McCarthy. I hear she's, like, awesome with autism.

steve barbarich (-1)

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Good luck with that... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134012)

This will be great if the changes necessary to get around it make it unable to infect humans. After all, influenza does infect pigs and birds.

FWIW, there's a bit of precedent here: no infectious form of syphilis has ever developed penicillin resistance. As I understand it, there have been some strains developed in laboratories that are penicillin-resistant, but none of them are capable of infecting human cells. IOW, there is a possibility that in mutating so that the proteins are no longer recognized by cells sensitized by this vaccine, the influenza virus will become incapable of infecting humans.

Oxford University Tests Universal Flu Vaccine (0)

Google Sniper 2.0 (1991870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134020)

Hope it will work against stronger virus like the H1N1 and Super Virus. The viruses have claimed so many lives aground the world and it's really sad to have more down with flu. Google Sniper 2.0 [slashdot.org]

Topical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134088)

Cue the GMO/Jenny McCarthy lot.

Would this work for the Common Cold? (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134094)

The Flu and the Common Cold are both viruses that mutate often, right? Would the same idea work for the common cold?

Please excuse my ignorance if there is an obvious reason why this wouldn't work. My degrees are in computers not medicine.

Re:Would this work for the Common Cold? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134444)

Cold viruses are much more diverse than flu viruses. All the influenza viruses are from a single viral family, while the viruses that cause colds come from all over the tree of viral life, including different groups of the Baltimore classification. The reason is that a cold is a disease defined by its symptoms, not by the causative agent, and many different viruses are capable of causing the symptoms.

However, assuming this works for the flu, it does raise the possibility of a vaccine that could prevent all the varieties of colds caused by rhinoviruses, which probably means about half of all colds.

Re:Would this work for the Common Cold? (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134526)

The common cold isn't caused by one virus, there's many different ones which are responsible. So in other words you could probably create an immunization to cover most of it, but you'd be stuck developing a vaccine like this for each of them ones.

Re:Would this work for the Common Cold? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134536)

Common cold is influenced by a sheer number of viruses. For many of them, this approach may work, but I suppose flu is more important for researchers right now. This method needs
- a complete research on a structure of a virus, including a separation of its proteins to mutating/nonmutating parts
- a creation of vaccine, which should be targeting only non-mutating parts and be safe for a human.
So it's a lot of work for one specie of a virus.

This line in TFA confused me (1)

amstrad (60839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134126)

The treatment – using a new technique and tested for the first time on humans infected with flu –

You don't give vaccines to people who are already infected. I realize that this vaccine attacks a whole class, but it's not going to be much good on a specific virus that has already infected the body.

Re:This line in TFA confused me (1)

Brian Boitano (514508) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134218)

So does this mean you take the vaccine once (or twice) and never get the flu again ever?

Re:This line in TFA confused me (2)

mentil (1748130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134240)

Most vaccines present weakened viruses so that the body's immune system will know how to fight it. Once it's gained a +5 Antibody of Influenza-Slaying, it can defeat the higher-level flu viruses.
This treatment is a substance that boosts T-cell count, so it doesn't only work as a vaccine.

Re:This line in TFA confused me (2)

Imrik (148191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134452)

It's badly worded, it's saying that they were deliberately infected after being vaccinated not that they were already infected when they were vaccinated.

God i love Science (1)

scarface71795 (1920250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134160)

I can't wait until we can easily live to be 150 and be extremely healthy with no chance of disease. Plus you've got to be careful with Space Aids

The FDA will never approve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134168)

...because it will shut down the Big Pharma Yearly Flu Jab Money Train.

Choo! Choo! Ka-Ching!

Re:The FDA will never approve it (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134780)

...because it will shut down the Big Pharma Yearly Flu Jab Money Train.

Actually... that may contribute to the reason the FDA will probably make the vaccine mandatory.

Adding Flu to the list of diseases humans no longer need to worry about could be quite significant.

Swine flu immunity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134252)

According to the BBC, those who've had the swine flu get super-immunity to the common cold amongst other things.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12152500

I can confirm this to some degree. I had Swine Flu almost two years ago. It sucked. But I have not gotten sick since. Had a couple of those days where you feel like you're going to get a cold, but nothing more than that.

Re:Swine flu immunity (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134414)

"According to the BBC, those who've had the swine flu get super-immunity to the common cold amongst other things.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12152500 [bbc.co.uk] "

The article doesn't mention the common cold anywhere.

RF (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134260)

Poor Randall Flagg...

Re:RF (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134496)

If only I had mod points...

Way to ruin a thread. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134326)

You guys should know that the more oxygen is in your body then the higher your PH level and you simply can't get sick because the virus can't penetrate the cell wall as well as the Immune System is at it's prime to isolate foreign bodies.

If you have a zit or any kind of puss on your body, either from an ingrown hair or a foot injury, perhaps from a food allergy, then you will discover that the puss is a super-high PH like around 13 because that is the body's way of enclosing and pushing-out the invasive things it encounters; it's why some people drink small amounts of food-grade (25%) hydrogen peroxide with some of their vegetable smoothies and juicers because the more oxygenated your body then the more toxins your body can properly identify for ejection. It's how heavy-metals are broken from fats, so your body is rid of that matterial known as "cellulite." I'm not recommending you to drink some of the verry puss off your nerdy faces, but the secretions of your nostrils has been an enticement to some suggestive behaviour continuing this day from many childhoods: boogers are high-PH too, and scientists say the healthier individuals recycle their mucus, so take a hint guys.

You don't need Vaccinations, and they are realy more a kind of innoculation than their advertisers are willing to admit. Just get your nutrition, and oxygenetate your body, and you can't get sick.

Re:Way to ruin a thread. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134866)

PS, I am not a crank.

blow up doll exceeds expectations! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134348)

I'm hooked! CPR on my blow up doll 24/7!

this may sound cold-hearted... (1)

asparagus6000 (1099167) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134550)

"If used widely a universal flu vaccine could prevent pandemics, such as the swine flu outbreaks of recent years, and end the need for a seasonal flu jab." I didn't read the journal article, but it sounds as though somebody's advocating distributing this vaccine every year during flu season (prophylactically). If a vaccine is successful, shouldn't we hold on to it and only distribute it during potential emergencies such as the emergence of H1N1? I would think the last thing we should be doing is breeding super vaccine-resistant flu viruses by over-medicating. It seems like whenever a new treatment is discovered, we deploy it immediately. Suppose if we deployed this new flu vaccine, in the best case scenario, we could save a hundred thousand lives per year, every year, for a decade or two, (and there's probably a lot of profit to be made in the process). But if we distribute the vaccine sparingly, perhaps it would remain effective for longer, and we could save tens of millions of lives when the next pandemic hits. It's an interesting mathematical dilemma, but I've never seen anybody bring this up. What is the best solution? (I've had this question for a while. It seems like a great question for the slashdot crowd.)

Re:this may sound cold-hearted... (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134590)

"If used widely a universal flu vaccine could prevent pandemics, such as the swine flu outbreaks of recent years, and end the need for a seasonal flu jab."

I didn't read the journal article, but it sounds as though somebody's advocating distributing this vaccine every year during flu season (prophylactically).

If a vaccine is successful, shouldn't we hold on to it and only distribute it during potential emergencies such as the emergence of H1N1? I would think the last thing we should be doing is breeding super vaccine-resistant flu viruses by over-medicating. It seems like whenever a new treatment is discovered, we deploy it immediately. Suppose if we deployed this new flu vaccine, in the best case scenario, we could save a hundred thousand lives per year, every year, for a decade or two, (and there's probably a lot of profit to be made in the process). But if we distribute the vaccine sparingly, perhaps it would remain effective for longer, and we could save tens of millions of lives when the next pandemic hits.
It's an interesting mathematical dilemma, but I've never seen anybody bring this up. What is the best solution?
(I've had this question for a while. It seems like a great question for the slashdot crowd.)

Vaccines are only effective BEFORE someone is infected, and even then they need time to work. By the time it's a wide spread emergency or pandemic it's too late to immunize.

Kill most all viruses, invulnerable ones yet live? (1, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134552)

the vaccine targets proteins inside the flu virus that are common across all strains

Huzza! Resistant Virus strains of the world, UNITE! The time has come for those of us in minority to rise up against our new protein targeting foe! Our cousins, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers have been killed by these anti-protein wielding vaccinologists!

Behold the folly of their folly! They ignore us outliers, complacent that we have not the capability to fill the niches left by our lost brethren.

TL;DR: Meh, mutants; The ones you don't target will become the next Flu epidemic -- Do we really want to breed viruses which are that much harder to kill?

Re:Kill most all viruses, invulnerable ones yet li (2)

mibe (1778804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134690)

Just like the polio vaccine created super polio, and the smallpox vaccine created monstro-pox, which subsequently ravaged the greater Eurasian continent before - hey wait a minute! That's what I get for using Wikopedia instead of the real thing!

Re:Kill most all viruses, invulnerable ones yet li (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134846)

So, what you're saying is that if we can eliminate a virus to within five nines of total dead, the 0.001% won't be around to cause havoc... The polio vaccine didn't eradicate polio; in fact, new outbreaks in 3rd world countries have occurred [reuters.com] , how long until a mutation renders the current vaccines against polio ineffective?

100 years? More? Meh, you won't be alive then, what do you care.

Oh, and Smallpox is totally not a problem anymore. [thaindian.com]

Those 2010 outbreaks are surely just flukes. No cause for alarm folks, we've got that whole biology thing understood, constrained and conquered.
</sarcasm>

Hint: even your highly esteemed Wikipedia has a list of epidemics [wikipedia.org] . Cholera in 2009? Bubonic Plague in 2008?! WTF!

You're deluding yourself If you think any thing short of tens of generations of world wide quality health care improvements are going to eradicate some of these diseases.

Vaccinating only a percentage of the populous? Don't make me laugh. Chances are, the viruses will evolve faster due to our forcing the hand of natural selection... But who cares, at least you're vaccinated, right?

Re:Kill most all viruses, invulnerable ones yet li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134798)

Given that neither polio nor smallpox ever mutated against their respective vaccines, that's doubtful. Also the flu genome varies greatly that at anytime, one strain could become the next big one. The universal flu vaccine simplifies the whole process for the seasonal varieties so that we don't need to bother with making vaccines for those.

Re:Kill most all viruses, invulnerable ones yet li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134850)

the vaccine targets proteins inside the flu virus that are common across all strains

Huzza! Resistant Virus strains of the world, UNITE! The time has come for those of us in minority to rise up against our new protein targeting foe! Our cousins, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers have been killed by these anti-protein wielding vaccinologists!

Behold the folly of their folly! They ignore us outliers, complacent that we have not the capability to fill the niches left by our lost brethren.

TL;DR: Meh, mutants; The ones you don't target will become the next Flu epidemic -- Do we really want to breed viruses which are that much harder to kill?

Have you ever heard of smallpox? Mass smallpox vaccinations totally created a worldwide pandemic superbug, there.

Re: antibody versus CTL vaccines (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134702)

This is a pretty interesting result. Essentially all vaccines as we know them function by coaxing our immune system to manufacture antibodies against a particular target. Because antibodies are floating around in the blood stream, they are pretty much restricted to attacking whatever the virus is presenting on its surface. Most of the time, the best things to be glomming onto as an antibody would be the protein structures that are responsible for the virus latching onto cells and getting its genome into the cell. If you can stop it at this stage, then you can prevent viruses from getting into cells in the first place.

The vaccine candidate in this study is a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL)-based vaccine that stimulates a completely different arm of our adaptive immune system. This is the cellular system, that functions by manufacturing lots of little molecules (human leukocyte antigens, HLAs) that glom onto the proteins that the virus tricks our own cellular machinery into making. Parts of virus proteins look distinctly different from human proteins because they usually have different tasks to accomplish. The important thing here is that our HLAs are glomming onto protein fragments that are not folded - they are still linear strings of amino acids. In contrast, antibodies have to glom onto virus proteins that have already been manufactured and folded - this makes the target a lot more complex. So from a vaccine manufacturing standpoint, it is a lot easier to synthesize a bunch of short protein fragments than it is to assemble a folded virus structure that sufficiently resembles the actual virus that it can raise an effective antibody response.

This is a total change in the game because a CTL-based vaccine has to wait for the virus to get into cells before it can do anything about it. (This may be why the authors mention incorporating this into a composite vaccine that includes antibody-raising components also.) This is also interesting because CTL-based vaccines have been tried against HIV, but they have failed spectacularly. This preliminary success may be due to the fact that our immune system is usually capable of clearing an influenza infection on its own, whereas HIV infections are forever.

H.I.V. (1)

lw7av (1734012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134728)

Can the same method be used to generate a vaccine for the H.I.V?

Re:H.I.V. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134760)

The way I understand it (degrees in microbiology and molecular genetics, going for an MD), this would be difficult to do since the vaccine they've created relies on the activation of cytotoxic T-cells, rather than production of antibodies as in traditional vaccines. On the face of it, this seems like a good way to destroy virus infected cells, but it becomes problematic when one considers that HIV is targeting those very T-cells. Moreover, HIV vaccines using this strategy have already failed, so it looks like we'll have to figure out something new there.

Pandemic? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134842)

Is it bad that I read this article while I was playing Pandemic 2 [addictinggames.com] ? I wanted to take a shot at infecting Madagascar again, and now I realize that it's 4 hours later.

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