A combination of lamia and human antibodies administered by a virus protects against almost all types of influenza. The experiment has been done on mice and shows all the complexity of the fight against the influenza virus, but also a lot of human wit. Although there is still much to do with the human trial and many things can go wrong until then, this new strategy brings promise of a global influenza vaccine.
The flu virus is one of the most vague. In addition to the hundreds of recognized types, subtypes and strains, their mutation rate (and thus escape the radar of the immune system) is very high. Much of the virus's ability to escape is due to a substance that, like flowers, springs from its surface into groups to third parties. It is called hemagglutinin (HA), a protein that stands out in a double sense: it is responsible for determining the virus in the infected cell, but it is also the most exposed part to which they react first.
Consequently, current vaccines target haemagglutinin, especially its three heads. But this section is also the most variable. In 1968 a flu-like event in Hong Kong began, which degenerated into the third pandemic of the century. In just a year, one million people died. Its enormous impact is largely due to the fact that human defenses have not been trained. The virus, H3N2, showed a change in the HA head that delayed its detection by antibodies. Since the middle of the last century, H3N2 influenza virus has undergone 75 changes in HA proteins. This explains why the vaccine is also different every year and can only be designed for one or two of the senior executives of each age.
A large group of researchers has devised a complex and very different strategy to combat evil. In practice, all rodents survived lethal doses of various types of flu and immunization lasted for months.
"Camelid antibodies have been known for some time and have many unique properties that make them attractive for drug development," explains Janssen, a researcher and author of the Janssen study, Joost Kolkman.
In fact, in 1989, Professor Raymond Hamers, then a student, found in the immune system of camel and water buffalo a type of antibody so far unknown. "They can bind to inaccessible sites for conventional antibodies due to their shape and their small size," adds Kolkman. They are about 10 times smaller than human antibodies.
"They can be easily linked to each other to create multidimensional antibodies that bind to different sites (the virus) of the same or different targets." Joost Kolkman. Scientist