It is little wonder that so many of the world’s health scares, such as the swine flu and bird flu pandemics, were caused by the flu virus. The virus, also known as influenza, mutates often, is highly contagious and grows resistant to treatments. Now, an Israeli company has developed a universal vaccine that may forever eradicate the flu family.
BiondVax Pharmaceuticals, which is developing the vaccine, has announced that it has completed a series of tests, which show that the vaccine is indeed “universal” and is also suited to the many new deadly flu strains that have appeared in the past few years.
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Until relatively recently, the flu strains H5N8, H6N1, H7N7, H7N9 and H10N8 infected only birds and were not considered dangerous for humans. However, as viruses do, all of them have now evolved and infected humans as well.
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Between 2003 and 2013, the bird flu H5N1, for example, has infected 648 people, with 384 deaths as a result. Similarly, the H7N9 virus, first identified in China, has since March 2013 caused the death of 33 percent of those infected.
A universal vaccine
In contrast to current vaccines, which are strain-specific, BiondVax‘s new vaccine was designed to contain small doses of the flu virus, which are enough to teach the human immune system to recognize all flu strains, so that the body quickly stops the virus from causing illness. The company anticipates that the universal vaccine, when the development stage is completed, will be broadly effective against present and future strains of flu.
BiondVax’s Chief Scientist Doctor Tamar Ben-Yedidia says: “These data are exciting and support the universality of BiondVax’s vaccine against strains emerging in the world, seasonal or pandemic. Today as people are constantly travelling, there are no natural borders that stop diseases from spreading across the globe. We need a new kind of flu vaccine that works against all flu strains and BiondVax has the solution in hand”.
BiondVax is a publicly traded advanced clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to improving global protection against influenza. The universal influenza vaccine, called M-001, is their lead product.
Photo: H1N1 Virus H5N1 Virus H7N9 Virus Bird Flu Virus by Bigstock