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Colds and flu

29 July 2011

Universal flu shot brought closer

Scientists have found a flu super antibody that can fight all types of influenza A viruses that cause disease in humans and animals.

Scientists have found a flu super antibody called FI6 that can fight all types of influenza A viruses that cause disease in humans and animals and say their discovery may be a turning point in the development of new flu treatments.

"As we saw with the 2009 pandemic, a comparatively mild strain of influenza can place a significant burden on emergency services. Having a universal treatment which can be given in emergency circumstances would be an invaluable asset," said John Skehel of Britain's National Institute for Medical Research, who worked on the study with colleagues from the privately owned Swiss firm Humabs.

Seasonal flu treatment targeting all flu viruses

Antonio Lanzavecchia, Humabs' chief scientific officer and director of the Swiss Institute for Research in Biomedicine, said high rates of seasonal flu and the unpredictability of possible future pandemics underlined the need for better treatments that target all flu viruses.

 

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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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