There May Finally Be A Cure For The Flu In Sight

    November 26, 2012
    Zach Walton
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I think we can all agree that getting the flu is about the worst possible thing that can happen during winter. That’s why we take vaccines, but it only lasts for a season. Even then, the vaccine may not work and we end up getting the flu anyway. That’s a problem, and one that scientists may have finally solved.

New Scientist reports that researchers have possibly created a vaccine that targets the very building blocks of flu viruses. If effective, it could mean an end to influenza as we know it, and prevent any future outbreaks of the virus. The best part is that the new vaccine can be quickly made and distributed among those that need it most before an epidemic can break out.

To understand how this new vaccine works, you have to understand how a traditional flu vaccine works. The traditional flu vaccine introduces our body’s immune system to a dead flu virus, and the immune system builds up protection against key proteins found on the surface of the virus. Those key proteins are constantly shifting, however, as flu viruses evolve every year. That’s why you have to get a new vaccine every year.

Now, the new vaccine being tested at the moment is very different. It’s made up of messenger RNA, or mRNA, that controls the production of proteins in influenza. The vaccine would be comprised of this mRNA, and your body would view it as outside proteins that must be destroyed. Any future intruders containing these proteins, which pretty much means all flu viruses, would be targeted by your immune system and subsequently destroyed.

Life long vaccines against influenza have been developed for a while now, but all have been caught up in clinical trials or questions of safety. One such vaccine is the DNA vaccine, but some fear that a DNA vaccine could cause irreparable harm to the human genome. An RNA vaccine carries no such risk, but past trials have ended up in failure as the body’s immune system destroys the vaccine before it has a chance to work.

The current mRNA vaccine being tested in animals has proven far more effective as it uses a protein called protamine that binds to mRNA and protects it from the immune system. This allows the vaccine to move through the body, and curate the creation of antibodies.

Amazingly enough, early tests of this new vaccine on mice and pigs have proven very effective. Not only does the vaccine prevent the seasonal flu, but it also protects against the far more deadly bird flu. There’s no word yet on if it protects against swine flu, but it definitely seems possible.

The vaccine is still being tested on animals, but it could move to human clinical trials soon. After that, we may soon enter an era where children are given a flu vaccine at a young age to protect them from the virus throughout their entire lives. The mRNA vaccine method could also be used to build up immunities to certain types of cancer and other diseases like meningitis and E. Coli.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/vaccinesandmasks/ penny

    The need for panic about seasonal influenza has been greatly overexaggerated, as has the efficacy of the current influenza vaccine.
    Influenza deaths are very poorly tracked and recorded – they will include all winter deaths as influenza when really it was heart disease, cancer, fall etc. see this great report on CBC canada http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/11/22/flu-deaths-crowe.html

    When we were growing up, do you remember a seasonal panic about everyone dying from influenza? No. The truth is back then the recording was accurate, in Canada where I live the truth death rate was about 300 per year – now that they have changed how they record influenza deaths that number is inflated 10x to 3000 to make us scared into things like vaccines.

    there are 200 pathogens that cause seasonal illness, the current vaccine contains 3 pathogens..we are so indoctrinated that the “flu” vaccine is protective that we forget other very common pests like bacterial pnuemonia, RSV, adenovirus and a huge hosts of ILI’s ( influenza like illnesses)

    So tell me, how would they test the safety of this vaccine? Dont be fooled into thinking the flu vaccine is ssfe. In fact, it reponds very badly with some immune systems. Until they can test for a biomarker to identify those people who are at risk for getting autoimmune reactions from the vaccine then I would certainly stay far away from the current, or this new vaccine.

    The flu vaccine has always been more about political relations and fear mongering then it is about truly protecting the public. It doesnt work and they are now pushing a new one on us, likely rush it to market just to shut up the current detractor of the current rotten one. Then it will be 10 years before the safety and the efficacy of the new one are exposed as crap..
    This quote from Osteroholm ( who reviewed 5700 flu studies and found only 31 to be credibleto the new york times says it best:

    “We have overpromoted and overhyped this vaccine,” said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, as well as its Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. “It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”

  • helen

    good to know thank you

  • max

    When do u think this vaccine will become available to the public?