Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are Some People Immune To Avian Flu?

Date:
February 28, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Are some people immune to avian flu? New results from Richard Webby at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and colleagues published in the international open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine suggest that the answer might be yes.

Neuraminidase ribbon diagram.
Credit: Image courtesy of PLoS Medicine

New results from Richard Webby at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and colleagues published in the international open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine suggest that the answer might be yes.

The H5N1 avian flu virus is quite different from the seasonal H1N1 and H3N2 flu viruses most humans have been exposed to, which is why many scientists believe that H5N1 could start a new pandemic. (The H and N refer to two virus components, the proteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, each of which exists in several varieties identified by a number following the letter.)

Webby and colleagues wondered whether immunity to the human type 1 neuraminidase (huN1) in H1N1 influenza virus strains (and vaccines made to protect against them) could provide protection against avian H5N1 influenza virus, which contains the closely related avian type 1 neuraminidase (avN1). In the new study, they investigated this possibility in mice and in a small group of humans.

The researchers immunized mice with DNA that caused their cells to make the neuraminidase from an H1N1 virus found in human outbreaks. They then examined the immune response of the mice to this huN1 and to avN1 from an avian H5N1 virus isolated from a human patient (A/Vietnam/1203/04). Most of the mice responded to the DNA vaccine by making antibodies that recognized huN1; a few also made antibodies against avN1. (Antibodies are proteins circulating in the body that recognize and stick to some specific part of a foreign agent such as a virus.) All the vaccinated mice survived infection with a man-made flu virus containing huN1, and half also survived infection with low doses of A/Vietnam/1203/04 or of a man-made virus containing avN1.

The researchers then tested blood samples from 38 human volunteers for their ability to inactivate neuraminidase from an H1N1 virus and two H5N1 viruses. Most of the samples were active against the protein from the H1N1 virus; and 8 or 9 also inhibited the protein from both H5N1 viruses.

The results indicate that a vaccine containing huN1 makes mice produce antibodies that partly protect them against avian H5N1 infection. In addition, the human data suggest that a proportion of people have low titer antibodies against H5N1 influenza because of prior exposure to H1N1 viruses or routine influenza vaccination.

As Laura Gillim-Ross and Kanta Subbarao (US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) write in an accompanying Perspective article, these results provide a tantalizing suggestion but fall short of demonstrating that there is actual protection in humans against avian flu. Further work is needed to investigate this important question, and Gillim-Ross and Subbarao discuss the challenges and opportunities for such research.

Citation: Sandbulte MR, Jimenez GS, Boon ACM, Smith LR, Treanor JJ, et al. (2007) Cross-reactive neuraminidase antibodies afford partial protection against H5N1 in mice and are present in unexposed humans. PLoS Med 4(2): e59. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040059)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Are Some People Immune To Avian Flu?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070213081902.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, February 28). Are Some People Immune To Avian Flu?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070213081902.htm
Public Library of Science. "Are Some People Immune To Avian Flu?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070213081902.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins