Influenza Vaccine and Llamas

Llamas (and other camelids) may hold the key to a long-lasting Influenza vaccine. New research showed a protein produced by llamas fought off the virus in mice[1].
A scientific team injected the llamas with a vaccine that contained three different Influenza viruses. The scientists then collected broadly neutralizing single-domain antibody (sdAbs). They were then able to isolate two influenza A (SD36 and SD38) and two influenza B (SD83 and SD84) sdAbs and analyzed their in vitro neutralizing activity.

SD36 potently neutralized influenza A group 2 (H3, H4, H7, and H10) but not group 1 (H1, H2, and H5) viruses, whereas SD38 potently neutralized group 1 (H1, H2, and H5) and some group 2 (H3, H7, and H10) viruses, albeit with lower potency. SD84 and SD83 neutralized representative viruses from both influenza B lineages.

When this protein was given to mice they were more likely to survive influenza A and B than untreated rodents. The study also showed the protein protected rhesus macques monkeys for at least four months.

Prof Ian Wilson, one of the researchers, said: "It's very effective, there were 60 different viruses that were used in the challenge and only one wasn't neutralised and that's a virus that doesn't infect humans".

[1] Laursen et al: Universal protection against influenza infection by a multidomain antibody to influenza hemagglutinin in Science - 2018. See here.

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