Scoperto un anticorpo universale per tutti i tipi di influenza. Con l’avvicinarsi della stagione della “febbre” spesso sentiamo parlare di vaccini influenzali con validità annuale. Questo perchè il virus dell’influenza è capace di variare alcune componenti riconosciute dal nostro sistema immunitario e quindi, tutte le volte, prendiamo la malattia. La metodica finora in uso prevedeva l’isolamento del nuovo ceppo influenzale e la produzione di nuovi vaccini ad hoc. Nonostante la grossa valenza di questa scoperta, i ricercatori sono comunque cauti: “è soltanto l’anticorpo, non il vaccino”. Incrociamo le dita!
Dal sito della BBC:
The first antibody which can fight all types of the influenza A virus has been discovered, researchers claim. Experiments on flu-infected mice, published in Science Express, showed the antibody could be used as an “emergency treatment”.It is hoped the development will lead to a “universal vaccine” – currently a new jab has to be made for each winter as viruses change.
They isolated an antibody – called FI6 – which targeted a protein found on the surface of all influenza A viruses called haemagglutinin. Sir John Skehel, MRC scientist at Mill Hill, said: “We’ve tried every subtype of influenza A and it interacts with them all.
Professor Antonio Lanzavecchia, director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Switzerland, said: “As the first and only antibody which targets all known subtypes of the influenza A virus, FI6 represents an important new treatment option.”
When mice were given FI6, the antibody was “fully protective” against a later lethal doses of H1N1 virus. Mice injected with the antibody up to two days after being given a lethal dose of the virus recovered and survived. This is only the antibody, however, not the vaccine. A vaccine would need to trigger the human body’s immune system to produce the antibody itself.
Sir John said the structure of the antibody and how it interacted with haemagglutinin had been worked out, which would help in the search for a vaccine, but that was “definitely years away”.