Radio Shows | New Flu Vaccine | mp3 … wma … wav
You know, it’s been a relatively mild flu season.
True — unless you had to suffer through one.
True enough, but I did get vaccinated because I didn’t want to be among the 90 million Americans to get the flu.
The reason you need annual vaccinations is because the virus mutates. The proteins on the virus surface change rendering our existing antibodies ineffective.
Every spring, the FDA predicts which type of flu strains they think will be the predominant disease the next year. That gives enough time to make millions of doses of flu vaccine. But when their prediction is wrong, we have a major outbreak.
What makes this a difficult task is the virus surface N and H proteins have areas that are especially variable. And it’s these variable areas that our antibodies recognize the most.
So when these proteins change, we need a new vaccine to generate the antibodies to recognize the changed parts. That way, your body can fight off the new virus.
But again, it all depends on whether scientists guessed the right virus to begin with. There is exciting new research that could take the guess work out. The new approach uses something called a monoclonal antibody.
This antibody recognizes a region of the H flu protein which is not variable. The variable regions are at the tip, but there’s an unchanging stalk like structure underneath.
If this approach works, we could have a vaccine that recognizes all influenza viruses, not just a single type. Imagine a treatment that can protect us from common flu strains and even the dreaded avian influenza.
There are plans to develop a new “universal vaccine” based on these antibodies.
This would profoundly change how we fight the flu and for you, it could mean the end of the yearly flu shot!
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