Did researchers just discover a cure for the flu? – Big Think


  • Researchers at Georgia State University and Emory University tweaked an old drug and found great results.
  • None of the ferrets given EIDD-2801 twelve hours after infection developed the flu.
  • Those given the drug a day later developed less severe symptoms than the control group or those receiving Tamiflu.

Disease is part of the price we pay as biological organisms. Contemplating how many diseases we have not eradicated can be daunting, though in reality, since the discovery of vaccination in the late eighteenth century and widespread acceptance of germ theory in the nineteenth, researchers have made great strides in medicine. Formerly deadly diseases are now behind us.

Not every illness is easy to overcome, however. Cancer, as Siddhartha Mukherjee writes in his opus on the topic, is an inherent part of our biology; whether or not those cells get turned on is the grim game of change every one of us faces. Optimize all we like, the possibility is always lurking.

A disease we often overlook in this conversation due to its ubiquity is one most everyone has fallen victim to once (or many times) in their lives: influenza. The flu killed a record number of Americans in 2017-18: 80,000 citizens died that year, according to the CDC.

Even in an average year, the agency states that between 12,000 and 79,000 people die. Yet many more are struck ill—somewhere around nine million up to 50 million. That’s nearly one-sixth of the population during especially bad seasons. Globally, over 600,000 people die every single year.

 

Source: Did researchers just discover a cure for the flu? – Big Think

Scientists may be getting closer to creating a universal flu vaccine : Medical News Today


We already have vaccines that prevent influenza, but there is a catch. Specialists have to keep creating vaccines that target specific flu strains if they want this preventive strategy to be effective. Can scientists create one flu vaccine to rule them all?

Scientists may be getting closer to creating a universal flu vaccine

person preparing flu vaccine

Influenza — which people commonly refer to as “the flu” — is one of the most widespread illnesses worldwide.

Two virus strains — influenza virus strain A and strain B — are responsible for the flu. This disease has led to between 9.3 million and 49 million estimated cases of illness each year since 2010 in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As there are different viral strains, and each strain has many different subtypes, doctors must administer the correct vaccine each time. They need to use one that targets the specific strains and subtypes that are circulating in the population for this preventive approach to be successful.

So far, there has been no “universal vaccine” that can target all influenza viruses effectively. But are researchers getting closer to developing one?

 

Source: Scientists may be getting closer to creating a universal flu vaccine : Medical News Today

Why the flu shot cannot give you the flu (and why you should get one now) : The Conversation


Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons.

During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 45% of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine. While this is an increase of 8% from 2017-2018, it falls way below the national goal of 70% of American adults receiving a flu shot.

One of the common myths that leads people to avoid the flu shot is that they think the shot will give them the flu. But that is simply not true. The virus in the vaccine is not active, and an inactive virus cannot transmit disease. What is true is that you may feel the effects of your body mounting an immune response, but that does not mean you have the flu.

I am a nursing professor with experience in public health promotion, and I hear this and other myths often. Here are the facts and the explanations behind them.

 

Source: Why the flu shot cannot give you the flu (and why you should get one now) : The Conversation

How the flu season turned deadly – are NHS vaccine failures to blame? : New Statesman


Influenza comes around every year. So why is this year’s flu season proving much worse than expected, with millions infected and at least 120 people already dead?

The disease is caused by influenza viruses of which four groups exist (types A,B, C and D). The first three infect people, and the first two may cause serious disease. This year, there have been significant numbers of both A and B type infections. The A type has acquired the name Aussie flu because it first started infecting large numbers of people Down Under in June 2017. The current B-type is commonly referred to as Japanese flu, or Yamagata type, based on its initial identification in the 1990s. The reality is that Aussie flu is unlikely to have originated in Australia and Japanese flu has been in circulation around the world for decades.

Different flu viruses are distinguished from each other in several ways. Each virus contains eight strands of ribonucleic acid, their genome, which encode the proteins they need to replicate and spread within their hosts. Two of these proteins, the so-called H and N proteins, sit at the surface of the virus and allow invasion of host cells where they replicate. As they sit at the virus surface they are vulnerable to attack by our immune system.

But if our immune system has never previously seen particular

 

Source: How the flu season turned deadly – are NHS vaccine failures to blame? : New Statesman