Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:59 am Post subject: Novartis finds faster way to test bird flu vaccine
Rino Rappuoli and colleagues, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, said their work could lead to a quicker way of identifying and producing the correct vaccine for use at the start of any pandemic.
They tested two vaccines in a Phase II study, one made with flu antigens alone and one with an extra adjuvant, or additive, to make the antigens easier for the immune system to detect.
The adjuvanted vaccine produced a much stronger response and the researchers found that a three-fold increase in the number of so-called memory T cells was a strong predictor of whether people were properly immunised six months later.
By measuring this response, vaccine developers should have a much faster way to assess the effectiveness of future vaccines, they concluded. The finding is the second piece of good news in two days in the fight against the risk of bird flu, following the discovery of human antibodies that can neutralise H5N1 bird flu and other strains of influenza.
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