Some common strains of influenza have the potential to mutate to evade broad-acting antibodies that could be elicited by a universal flu vaccine, according to a study led by scientists at Scripps Research.
Some common strains of influenza have the potential to mutate to evade broad-acting antibodies that could be elicited by a universal flu vaccine, according to a study led by scientists at Scripps Research. The findings highlight the challenges involved in designing such a vaccine, and should be useful in guiding its development.
In the study, published in Science, the researchers found evidence that one of the most common flu subtypes, H3N2, can mutate relatively easily to escape two antibodies that were thought to block nearly all flu strains. Conversely, they found it is much more difficult for another common subtype, H1N1, to escape from the same broadly neutralizing antibodies.
One of the main goals of current influenza research is to develop a universal vaccine that induces broadly neutralizing antibodies, also known as “bnAbs,” to give people long-term protection from the flu.
“These results show that in designing a universal flu vaccine or a universal flu treatment using bnAbs, we need to figure out how to make it more difficult for the virus to escape via resistance mutations,” says the study’s senior author Ian Wilson, DPhil, Hansen Professor of Structural Biology and Chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at Scripps Research.
Read more at Scripps Research Institute
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