Researchers have found antibodies - the immune system's
protective proteins - for H7N9 in people who had had the injection for seasonal
The research and findings from the University of Chicago
Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York was
published online in the Journal of Clinical
Bird or avian flu virus emerged in China in 2013. While no
pandemic has yet been seen, the threat of wider global spread is a worrying
one. So the scientists looked to the regular seasonal vaccine, which produces
antibodies against the flu virus, proteins that bind to the invading pathogen
and neutralize it.
Patrick Wilson, PhD, co-senior author, associate professor
of medicine at the University of Chicago, concludes that protection could be
developed from the annual injection against H7N9:
"We have clear
evidence that a normal immune response to flu vaccination offers protection
against dangerous and highly unique strains of influenza such as H7N9. We now
need to develop ways of amplifying this response," he said.
The scientists tested 83 immune system antibodies from 28 people
who received a seasonal flu vaccine. Of those antibodies, 7 percent reacted
against rare H7 virus strains even though those strains were not specifically
targeted by the seasonal flu vaccines.
He added that it's clear that seasonal flu vaccination provides
protection against more than just common strains. "Everyone should be
vaccinated," he said.