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!
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy