British scientists are developing a flu vaccine that will give lifelong benefit to patients and it is also expected to fight anything from winter flu to bird flu.
Compared to traditional jabs, the new FLU-v vaccine is easier to make and can also be stocked for a global epidemic. "We expect one course of injections - probably of two a week apart - to give life-long immunity," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Stuart Robinson of the Buckinghamshire company PepTcell, which developed the vaccine, as saying.
The new vaccine is based on proteins that are common to all strains of the virus, which have not altered for about 60 years. The new vaccine makes immune system cells cytotoxic T cells to fight the virus, rather in bringing in antibodies.
Lab tests have shown that FLUv can save mice, for more than half the treated mice survived, while unvaccinated creatures died. "We are in real need of new types of vaccine. Anything that gives a more rapid response would be of great interest," Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor at Aberdeen University, said.
Professor Malcolm McCrae of Warwick University said the vaccine could be a useful short-term measure against a totally new strain.
It is expected that human trials of FLU-v will start in 2008 and if they prove to be effective, it could be on the market in three to five years.