- Scientists may have found the key ingredient for a universal flu vaccine, and it comes from llamas:
- How to Turbocharge Flu Protection (Llamas Required):
From Dr. Darria to SmartHERNews.com
The main problem with our current flu vaccine technology now is that it can target only a single specific site on a single flu strain at a time to create antibodies (3-4 of these targets are typically combined into a “Trivalent” or “Quadrivalent” vaccine to target 3-4 individual strains). Given how many strains of flu exist and how quickly they mutate, you can see why this method just can’t be 100% effective.
Think of the flu strains like the different smartphones: current vaccines targeting only a single site on a single strain are like having only a single charger that will work with each phone; to be able to charge multiple brands, you’d have to carry many many chargers – and they’re constantly changing! Instead, this new study essentially created a “universal adaptor” that would target not just a single strain, but the vast majority of flu strains, because it targeted a mechanism that’s common to all flu strains (and that doesn’t mutate as much). If it works, it would be far more effective than the current technology.
There are still many big obstacles; one of the biggest is that antibodies from non-humans (llamas in this case), could just trigger the human immune system to fight the vaccine. At a minimum, it will be several years – at the earliest – until we could see this (or other products from studies trying to do something similar) hit the marketplace. In the meantime, getting your flu shot, avoiding touching public surfaces (think elevator buttons, stairwell railings), and washing your hands frequently is the best way to stay safe – and what I’m doing! Darria Long Gillespie <firstname.lastname@example.org>