Four-in-one antibody used to fight flu shows promise in mice

November 2, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Medical Xpress report
influenza
Electron microscopy of influenza virus. Credit: CDC

A large international team of researchers has developed a four-in-one antibody approach to fighting influenza infections. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes the development of the antibody and how well it worked in test mice.

Despite a lot of research by scientists over many years, influenza continues to infect people around the globe. In addition to missed work days and the misery it causes victims, it kills approximately half a million people every year. The current to limiting the number of people stricken is to create seasonal vaccines annually and to vaccinate as many people as possible. While effective for many people, vaccines do not work as well among the most vulnerable—the elderly. They also only offer protection for one type of flu. For that reason, scientists continue to look for a better approach. In this new effort, the researchers sought to create an antibody that would be effective against multiple types of flu—one that would hopefully offer protection over the course of an entire flu season.

The team started with prior research showing that llamas produce a unique type of antibody that is able to attach to more vulnerable parts of . They injected llamas with vaccines that had three different kinds of disabled flu viruses. The vaccine also had a viral surface protein from two other types of flu. Then, once the llamas had produced to the newly introduced viruses, the researchers harvested them—four types in all. Next, they engineered a gene that expresses a protein composed of nanobodies derived from the four antibodies in the llamas. The final step was splicing the engineered gene into a benign .

To test their approach, the researchers created a nasal spray that launched the loaded virus into the nasal cavities of test mice and then tried to infect the mice with 59 different types of flu that infect people. They report that the mega-antibody was successful in warding off every single virus strain tested.

More testing is required, and it is still not clear if the four-in-one antibody might be seen as an enemy by the human immune system—but at this point, the researchers are optimistic about their approach making its way into use before the next pandemic strikes.

Explore further: Candidate for universal flu vaccine protects against multiple strains

More information: Nick S. Laursen et al. Universal protection against influenza infection by a multidomain antibody to influenza hemagglutinin, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0620

Press release

Related Stories

Candidate for universal flu vaccine protects against multiple strains

August 22, 2018
A universal flu vaccine that protects people against most influenza strains is one step closer to reality, with a study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Synthetic DNA vaccine effective against influenza A virus subtype

September 6, 2018
Currently available vaccines for the prevention of seasonal influenza virus infection have limited ability to induce immunity against diverse H3N2 viruses, an influenza A subtype that has led to high morbidity and mortality ...

Engineered virus has artificial amino acid allowing it to serve as a vaccine

December 2, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at Peking University has developed a new type of vaccine that they claim may allow for a new approach to generating live virus vaccines which could conceivably be adapted to any type ...

New DNA-based strategy shows promise against a range of influenza viruses

July 6, 2017
A novel, synthetic, DNA-based strategy to provide protection against a broad array of influenza viruses has been developed in preclinical models by scientists at The Wistar Institute, MedImmune (the global biologics research ...

Discovery of immune cells able to defend against mutating viruses could transform vaccine development

May 1, 2018
Scientists have found immune cells can fight different strains of the same virus—a discovery which could help transform vaccine development.

Recommended for you

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

New research aims to help improve uptake of hepatitis C testing

November 14, 2018
New research published in Scientific Reports shows persisting fears about HIV infection may impact testing uptake for the hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.