Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein helps immune system mount ’instant strike’ against deadly flu viruses

19.02.2004


Discovery suggests that a ’live virus’ vaccine may offer best defense against avian flu

Researchers at the University of Rochester have identified a protein in the immune system that appears to play a crucial role in protecting against deadly forms of influenza, and may be particularly important in protecting against emerging flu viruses like the avian flu. The researchers believe that a vaccine made with a live but weakened strain of flu virus – such as the inhaled flu vaccine introduced last year – may activate this part of the immune system and offer the best defense against avian flu.

In a paper being published in the February 20 issue of Immunity, the researchers report that a protein called VLA-1 enables the immune system to develop "peripheral immunity" by anchoring millions of virus-killing cells to tissues along the airways and lungs, where flu enters the body. The protein holds the cells in place and helps them survive there for long periods – sometimes years – where they stand ready to mount an immediate attack on the flu virus.



In a series of experiments, mice whose T cells were able to make the protein were able to develop peripheral immunity, and 90 percent of them survived after being infected with a potentially deadly strain of flu. Mice with T-cells engineered to lack the protein failed to develop peripheral immunity, and only 60 percent of them survived after being infected with the same flu virus.

The findings demonstrate that when confronted by a potentially deadly flu strain, an effective first strike by T cells in the lungs can mean the difference between life and death. To immunologist David Topham, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study, the findings reveal something else: a shortcoming in the world’s most widely administered flu vaccines. Those vaccines, made with fragments of "killed" viruses, help the immune system make antibodies against the flu virus but do not induce peripheral immunity.

The trouble with antibodies, says Topham, arises when a flu virus changes, either by mutating or by swapping genes with another virus – a scenario that experts fear would lead to a pandemic of avian flu. When a virus changes, antibodies often have difficulty recognizing the new virus and mobilizing the immune system to attack. And even if they do, it takes two to three days for antibodies to stimulate the production of T cells, and for those cells to begin attacking the virus. Unlike antibodies, T cells are much more effective at recognizing viruses that have changed, and they can attack instantly.

"In a lethal form of flu, like avian flu has the potential to be, you may not have three days. A lethal infection can gain such a foothold in that time that it can become very difficult or impossible for the immune system to overcome it," said Topham.

Topham believes that to protect people against an outbreak of avian flu, vaccine developers should switch to a vaccine made with a live but weakened flu virus. Such vaccines are thought to more closely mimic a natural encounter with the flu virus and are more likely to induce peripheral immunity, which might deliver an instant strike against the virus as the infection begins.

"When confronted by a deadly flu virus, the ability to attack it instantly, as soon as the virus hits the lungs, might mean the difference between life and death," said Topham. "Our goal should be to design a vaccine that helps the immune system produce peripheral immunity. A vaccine made from live virus offers the best chance of accomplishing this."


The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and conducted at the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology, part of the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Chris DiFrancesco | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht Overdosing on Calcium
19.06.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Creating a new composite fuel for new-generation fast reactors

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Game-changing finding pushes 3D-printing to the molecular limit

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Could this material enable autonomous vehicles to come to market sooner?

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>