The discovery, published today in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals how boosting T cell immunity could better protect humans from a bird flu pandemic.
The continued spread of the highly virulent "bird flu" virus has experts worried that we are facing a new potential influenza pandemic which could transfer between humans. Furthermore, given the bird flu is new, there is no pre-existing immunity in the population and current vaccine formulations would be useless.
"The 'Killer T cell' is the hit-man of the immune system. It is able to locate and destroy virus-infected cells in our body helping rid us of infection," said A/Prof Stephen Turner, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne who is a lead author on the paper.
"Unfortunately, current influenza vaccines are poor at inducing killer T cell immunity. Therefore, we wanted to see if we could improve the current vaccine formulation to induce killer T cells after vaccination," he said.
"We added a compound, known to increase immunity, to the flu vaccine in an animal model. The addition of this compound promoted significant generation of potent killer T cell immunity and provided protection from infection.
"The significance of these findings is that rather than having to design a new vaccine altogether, we can improve current flu vaccines by adding this potent immune modulator.
"With appropriate clinical testing, we could see improvements to current vaccines within the next five years."
Dr Turner said the key to vaccine effectiveness was ensuring a match between the vaccine and the current circulating flu strain. However, the spike proteins varied over the course of a flu season rendering the current vaccine ineffective. As such, the vaccine needs to be updated every year to match the likely strain for that winter.
"It is a different situation for influenza pandemics. Pandemics arise due to the introduction of a new influenza virus into human circulation. As such, there is little or no pre-existing immunity to the bird flu virus enabling it to spread rapidly."
"'Killer' T cells recognise components that are conserved between different influenza viruses. Therefore, a vaccine strategy that induced killer T cells pre-emptively would provide protection from a potential pandemic."
Rebecca Scott | EurekAlert!
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction