A new flu vaccine is being developed by scientists at Imperial College London, which could prevent the global pandemic from spreading even further, researchers say.
Key points:Scientists have developed a vaccine that uses a unique protein in bacteria to kill the flu virusThe vaccine is already in clinical trials at the Imperial College HospitalThe vaccine will be used in the UK next yearScientists are also developing a new way of preventing the spread the flu.
The development has been hailed by scientists, with Dr Rupa Raghavan, from Imperial College’s Department of Medical Genetics and Molecular Biology, describing it as “the biggest scientific breakthrough since the introduction of the first vaccines in 1957”.
“The vaccine uses a particular protein in some types of bacteria called H2, which has the potential to prevent viral infection,” she said.
“We found that by targeting this protein, we can effectively prevent the viral replication and spread, even in mice and human cells.”
In a paper published in the journal Nature, Dr Raghava described how the new vaccine uses an enzyme that uses the proteins H2 and CAG1 to bind to a specific receptor, the HVLA receptor, which is found on a small piece of the virus genome.
“The HVL receptors act like switches that switch between the ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ states,” Dr Ragavan said.
“The H2 protein activates the ‘cold state’ of the HVL receptors, which are activated when the virus infects the cells.”
By binding to the receptor, we prevent viral replication by binding to it, and then by binding with the CAG protein to stop the virus from replicating.
“If we target the CGLA, which we have already shown to be an effective antiviral, we activate the H2 receptor and stop viral replication.”
Dr Raghavas team has already successfully engineered the H1, H2a and H2b vaccines for use in mice.
They also created a vaccine containing the HLA2-targeting enzyme CAG-3, which can be found on the surface of the surface DNA of the influenza virus, and which binds to the HGLA receptor.
Dr Ragavas researchers have also developed a method of targeting the HPLA receptor, a protein found on surface of a viral genome, and this method will be tested in humans in the next year.
The research team believe the new method of vaccine targeting the influenza A virus, called HPLAB, will have an even more significant impact than the other two vaccines.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen this type of vaccine,” Dr Sivan Bhaskar, the lead researcher of the study, said.
“The ability to target the H3 receptor is a huge advantage, because if you can target the entire virus, then you can do the vaccination more efficiently.”
Now we can see how this works in mice.
“Dr Bhaskarth said the team will soon be working on a vaccine targeting a different type of virus, which will have a higher chance of stopping infection in humans.”
This new vaccine is designed to be used against a specific type of viral strain, but we will also be developing other vaccines that target other viruses,” he said.
The new vaccine was developed using a novel gene, which makes it so it is easier to create a vaccine, than previous vaccines.
The team has been working with the British National Medical Research Council, which funded the study.”
The team is currently working on creating a vaccine using the H6 and H6a receptor, so that it can target both the human and the viral strains. “
So, we started with a protein that had the ability to bind both the H5 and H7 receptors, but which also had a binding site on the other side of the protein, so it can bind to the other receptor as well.”
The team is currently working on creating a vaccine using the H6 and H6a receptor, so that it can target both the human and the viral strains.
Dr Bhavas group is also looking into using a vaccine based on the flu vaccine, which would target the human version of the viruses.
There are a number of new vaccines that have been developed to combat the pandemic, including the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and the Sars-CoMV-1 vaccine.
While the H7-CAG1 vaccine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the H8-CNGA vaccine, as well as the H10-CPLA vaccine have not been approved.