Versatile Flu Antibody Discovered

Scientists have discovered an antibody that is effective against several dozen different strains of influenza.

Scientists have discovered an antibody that is effective against several dozen different strains of influenza. They describe their work in a paper published online yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The antibody, called CH65, successfully neutralized 30 of 36 different strains of flu virus by sticking to a part of the viruses' surface called hemagglutinin that mutates from season to season, requiring the flu vaccine to be updated each year. CH65, which was isolated from cells donated by a person who had received the 2007 flu vaccine, manages to neutralize a range of strains by binding to a portion of hemagglutinin that cannot mutate without reducing its ability to infect human cells.

“What this tells us is that the human immune system can fine-tune its response to the flu and actually produce, albeit at a low frequency, antibodies that neutralize a whole series of strains,” the study’s lead author, Stephen C. Harrison, PhD, chief of the division of molecular medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, said in a press release.

The study authors hope that it will be possible in the future to produce vaccines that direct the immune response to protect against multiple strains of flu virus by targeting the same portions of hemagglutinin that CH65 does.

Source

Broadly neutralizing human antibody that recognizes the receptor-binding pocket of influenza virus hemagglutinin [Proceedings of the National Academy of Science]