Antibodies used to protect against bird flu

An international team of investigators working on a specially funded project have found that antibodies extracted from bird flu victims provided immunity to mice later infected with H5N1. The antibodies also cut the level of the virus found in the lungs while largely preventing it from reaching the brain or spleen. The treatment was also able to work up to 72 hours after the bird flu victims were first exposed. The approach to treating bird flu is similar to doctors' use of the blood of Spanish flu survivors to treat new victims.

"We have shown that this technique can work to prevent and neutralize infection by the H5N1 bird flu virus in mice," says Cameron Simmons, a Wellcome Trust researcher at the Oxford University clinical research unit in Ho Chi Minh City. "We are optimistic that these antibodies, if delivered at the right time and at the right amount, could also provide a clinical benefit to humans with H5N1 infections."

- read the article on the new research in The Guardian