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Influenza

Medical

Exposé of flu's cell hijacking tactics could stop viruses taking hold

It's not easy for bird flu to migrate to humans, but once there it can have wreak considerable havoc, with consequences that include death. For the first time scientists have zeroed in on the very narrow pathway that allows the passage of this type A influenza virus from birds to mammals, a discovery they say could one day enable them to shut the gate on the flu virus altogether. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Cue lets users perform medical diagnostics at home

Not so long ago, self health monitoring was largely limited to weighing ourselves to see how a diet was going and sticking a thermometer under our tongue to see if we were getting sick. For everything else we went to the family doctor. That was in the past. Technology has put health and fitness monitoring firmly in consumers’ hands. Starting with pedometers in the 1980s and progressing to the myriad wearable fitness trackers flooding the market today. The grip has just tightened again with Cue – a device that allows users to run medical diagnostics from the comfort of their own home.Read More

Science

DARPA produces 10 million flu vaccine doses in one month

A familiar news topic during the flu season is the difficulties that the authorities face in producing enough flu vaccine fast enough to control the outbreak. That’s a serious enough problem, but when the influenza outbreak turns out to be the start of a global pandemic, then hundreds of millions of lives could be at risk. To combat this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed a new way of making vaccines that has turned out 10 million doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine in a month, in a recent test run. Read More

Medical

Synthetic protein kick-starts the immune system to prevent all strains of the flu

We’ve seen promising moves towards developing a universal or near-universal influenza vaccine, but researchers at the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center have taken a different tack to ward of the crafty virus. Although the flu virus actively keeps the immune system from detecting it for a few days, giving it time to gain a foothold, the researchers have found that a powerful synthetic protein, known as EP67, can kick start the immune system so that it reacts almost immediately to all strains of the virus. Read More

Medical

New material claimed to filter flu virus out of air

Staying healthy during flu season is about to get easier thanks to researchers at China's Academy of Sciences and Academy of Agricultural Science, and it doesn't involve painful injections. Instead, the team has developed a way to improve air filter technology to specifically target influenza viruses, effectively stopping them before they get inside our bodies and make us ill. The nice thing about air filters is that they work both ways, so sick individuals wearing the modified filters will end up shedding less viruses into the environment too, which can also help reduce the rate of new infections.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

New antiviral drug could cure nearly any viral infection – including the common cold

While not delivering a knockout blow, the discovery of penicillin in 1928 provided a potent weapon in the fight against a wide range of bacterial infections. The quest to develop a similarly broad-spectrum drug to fight viral infections has proven more difficult but now researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory have designed a drug that has so far proven effective against all 15 viruses it has been tested on. These include rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.Read More

Medical

Swine flu breath test could help identify infected patients

A simple swine flu breath test is currently being developed with the aim of preventing H1N1 vaccination shortages by identifying those already infected with the strain. A recent study in Glasgow, Scotland discovered that over 50 percent of the local residents vaccinated during the 2009 swine flu pandemic had already been infected with the virus. This ultimately means that they were vaccinated unnecessarily and although this would not have caused any added harm, it did expose health practitioners to the infectious virus whilst also wasting already limited supplies of the vaccine.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Discovery of natural antibody offers hope for a near-universal flu vaccine

Every year in the lead up to flu season, those at high risk of infection, such as the young, the elderly and those who are immune-compromised, head off to the doctor for a jab in the hopes it will protect them from the flu. However, influenza vaccines have a number of shortcomings that means even those who have been vaccinated may still get influenza. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell have now found a broadly acting antibody that could lead to a single, near-universal flu vaccine to replace annually changing vaccines.Read More

Medical

Dissolving microneedle patches – clean, painless, longer-lasting vaccinations

Doctors have been using hypodermic needles for more than 150 years – but syringe vaccinations could be just about to be replaced by a simple patch you can stick on your arm with no medical supervision. The microneedle patches have an array of microscopic needles on them that penetrate the skin just deep enough to dissolve and deliver a vaccine without causing any pain. There's no sharp hazardous waste left over, they're no more expensive than a syringe, and most importantly, tests on mice are showing that microneedle vaccinations are significantly longer-lasting than deeper injections delivered by syringe.Read More

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