Researchers have discovered the Achilles heel of the flu virus. This can make annual vaccinations against this virus unnecessary.
Influenza is a highly contagious infectious viral disease that affects the respiratory system, as well as the nose and throat. In most cases, the flu goes away on its own, but it can cause complications that end in death. According to the World Health Organization, from 300 to 650 thousand people annually become victims of influenza.
If the coronavirus, similar in its effect to the flu, mainly kills elderly people, then the flu does not spare the youngest under the age of 5. It also negatively affects pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. And now scientists from Scripps Research have discovered the Achilles heel of the flu virus, which will help develop a universal vaccine that would be effective against any strain. This would eliminate the need to introduce new vaccinations every year.
This Achilles’ heel turned out to be antibodies capable of recognizing a variety of flu strains, taking into account its endless mutations. The antibodies bind to a long-ignored part of the virus called the anchor. Anchor antibodies can also be developed as drugs with broad therapeutic applications. Understanding the areas of vulnerability to antibodies that are common to a large number of variants of influenza strains will help develop a vaccine that is not susceptible to viral mutations.