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Antibodies from survivors could combat human strain of bird flu

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  • Antibodies from survivors could combat human strain of bird flu

    29 May, 2007 -- Scientists say they may have found a way of combating the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that has claimed dozens of lives around the world.

    The partly UK-funded research successfully used antibodies from survivors of the virus to stop the full-blown disease from developing in mice.

    Results from the study, published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, could hold the key to finding future treatments for the virus.

    The H5N1 strain has killed millions of birds across the globe and has occasionally been passed on to humans with often fatal results. By mid-May, according to the World Health Organisation, there had been 306 known cases of bird flu in humans, 185 of them fatal.

    But the scientists, based in Vietnam, Switzerland and the US, are optimistic that antibodies from Vietnamese survivors could be used in the fight against infection. The researchers found the antibodies provided significant immunity to mice that were subsequently infected with the Vietnam strain of H5N1.

    The research was fast-tracked for funding by the UK's Wellcome Trust and was also supported by grants from bodies in the US and Switzerland.

    Dr Cameron Simmons, a Wellcome Trust scientist at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, said: "We have shown that this technique can work to prevent and neutralise infection by the H5N1 'bird flu' virus in mice. We are optimistic that these antibodies, if delivered at the right time, could also provide a clinical benefit to humans with H5N1 infections."

    The antibodies were found in the lab of Professor Antonio Lanzavecchia at the Swiss Institute for Research in Biomedicine.

    Professor Lanzavecchia said although the research was encouraging it did not necessarily mean that the antibodies would be useful in any future pandemic. "We can't say for certain that a pandemic influenza virus will resemble the H5N1 strain that we have been studying," he added.

  • #2
    hmmm, Passive Immunization

    (sorry, just had to mention that )
    It seems as if one fails to conceive
    The meaning my name strives to achieve

    To a biological form you cannot relate-
    Because a reproductive cell is a gamete not gamate!

    It means to unite, -to become consolidated
    So without me in, is there hope we'd be amalgamated?


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