Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biologics & Bioprocessing
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Bird Flu Mutation Study Offers Vaccine Clue

Published: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, April 08, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New findings to develop more effective vaccines against new strains of bird flu.

Scientists have described small genetic changes that enable the H5N1 bird flu virus to replicate more easily in the noses of mammals.

So far there have only been isolated cases of bird flu in humans, and no widespread transmission as the H5N1 virus can't replicate efficiently in the nose.

The new study, using weakened viruses in the lab, supports the conclusions of controversial research published in 2012 which demonstrated that just a few genetic mutations could enable bird flu to spread between ferrets, which are used to model flu infection in humans.

Researchers say the new findings could help to develop more effective vaccines against new strains of bird flu that can spread between humans.

"Knowing why bird flu struggles to replicate in the nose and understanding the genetic mutations that would enable it to happen are vital for monitoring viruses circulating in birds and preparing for an outbreak in humans," said Professor Wendy Barclay, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, who led the study.

"The studies published last year pointed to a mechanism that restricts replication of H5N1 viruses in the nose. We've engineered a different mutation with the same effect into one of the virus proteins and achieved a similar outcome. This suggests that there is a common mechanism by which bird flu could evolve to spread between humans, but that a number of different specific mutations might mediate that."

Bird flu only rarely infects humans because the human nose has different receptors to those of birds and is also more acidic. The Imperial team studied mutations in the gene for haemagglutinin, a protein on the surface of the virus that enables it to get into host cells.

They carried out their experiments in a laboratory strain of flu with the same proteins on its surface as bird flu, but engineered so that it cannot cause serious illness.

The research found that mutations in the H5 haemagglutinin enabled the protein to tolerate higher levels of acidity. Viruses with these mutations and others that enabled them to bind to different receptors were able to replicate more efficiently in ferrets and spread from one animal to another.

The results have important implications for designing vaccines against potential pandemic strains of bird flu. Live attenuated flu vaccines (LAIV) might be used in a pandemic situation because it is possible to manufacture many more doses of this type of vaccine than of the killed virus vaccines used to protect against seasonal flu.

LAIV are based on weakened viruses that don't cause illness, but they still have to replicate in order to elicit a strong immune response. Viruses with modified haemagglutinin proteins induced strong antibody responses in ferrets in this study, suggesting that vaccines with similar modifications might prove more effective than those tested previously.

"We can't predict how bird flu viruses will evolve in the wild, but the more we understand about the kinds of mutations that will enable them to transmit between humans, the better we can prepare for a possible pandemic," said Professor Barclay.

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust and published in the Journal of General Virology.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New App Advises and Reminds Pregnant Women About Vaccinations
Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a new app to guide and remind pregnant women about vaccines recommended during pregnancy.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Engineering Bacteria for Vaccine Delivery
An eight million Euro project has been launched with the aim of engineering bacteria to deliver vaccines against antibiotic-resistant infections.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Protein That Boosts Immunity To Viruses And Cancer Discovered
Scientists have discovered a protein that plays a central role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer, opening the door to new therapies.
Friday, April 17, 2015
New Class of Antibodies Raises Hope of Dengue Fever Vaccine
Scientists have discovered a new class of human antibodies against the dengue fever virus, which could be exploited to develop a vaccine.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Injected Vaccine Could Help Eradicate Polio
Re-introducing a type of polio vaccine that fell out of favour in the 1960s could hasten eradication of the disease.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Scientists Closer to Universal Flu Vaccine After Pandemic “Natural Experiment”
The findings are published in Nature Medicine.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Researchers Pioneer Treatment for Viral Infection Common in Children
Professor Peter Openshaw and team develops a new technique used in tackling a wide range of other diseases.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Scientists 'Disarm' HIV in Step Towards Vaccine
Sscientists at Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University have shown that HIV is unable to damage the immune system if cholesterol is removed from the virus's membrane.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Arthritis Drugs Could Help Prevent Memory Loss After Surgery, Study Suggests
Anti-inflammatory drugs currently used to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may also help prevent cognitive problems after surgery, according to a new study by researchers at Imperial College London and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Monday, November 01, 2010
Scientific News
Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
Soy Shows Promise as Natural Anti-Microbial Agent
Soy isoflavones and peptides may inhibit the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, according to a new study from University of Guelph researchers.
Designing Better Drugs
A rational drug engineering approach could breathe new life into drug development.
AstraZeneca to Sequence 2 Million Genomes in Search for New Drugs
Company launches integrated genomics approach which aims to transform drug discovery and development.
Factors Influencing Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Uncovered
The long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited, new research suggests.
Study Finds Factors That May Influence Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited.
New Model to Enhance Zika Virus Research
The model will allow researchers to better understand how the virus causes disease and aid in the development of antiviral compounds and vaccines.
Improving Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
NIH study finds factors that may influence influenza vaccine effectiveness.
BMS’s Opdivo Clinical Trial Shows Promise
Safety profile of the combination regimen from CheckMate -069 was consistent with previously reported studies and adverse events were managed using established safety algorithms.
CNS Inflammation: A Pathway and Possible Drug Target
Scientists have long known that the central nervous system (CNS) has a remarkable ability to limit excessive inflammation in the presence of antigens or injury, but how it works has been unclear.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!