Federal scientists at the NIAID have developed a vaccine that protects mice against the killer 1918 influenza virus. But they have also created a technique for identifying antibodies that neutralize the bird flu virus, a tool that could help contain future pandemic flu strains. These findings are important, the researchers say, to understanding and preventing the recurrence of the H1N1 influenza virus that caused the 1918 pandemic and to protecting against virulent flu strains in the future, including the H5N1 avian flu virus.
"Who would have imagined five years ago that we'd be able to create a vaccine that protects against one of the deadliest forms of influenza the world has ever seen?" said Gary J. Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vaccine Research Center. "It's because the 1918 flu virus has been reconstructed that we are now able the further understand it. Hopefully, this virus will help us to develop effective vaccine strategies for current pandemic influenza virus threats."
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