Researchers at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and Crucell Vaccine Institute in the Netherlands say they have discovered a human antibody that protects against essentially all influenza A and B strains.
The researchers believe the antibody could be used to offer an actual treatment for influenza, as opposed to current treatments which only support the patients' bodies whilst they fight off the infection on their own.
The discovery could also lead to a universal flu vaccine.
"To develop a truly universal flu vaccine or therapy, one needs to be able to provide protection against influenza A and influenza B viruses," said Ian A. Wilson, Hansen professor of structural biology at Scripps Research and the new study's senior investigator. "With this report, we now have broadly neutralizing antibodies against both."
In other words: a universal vaccine. And not just any vaccine, but one that could be used for dangerous strains of influenza such as H1N1 and H3N2v.