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  • A little about the flu vaccine

    Annual vaccination is provided to help fight our bodies with available influenza viruses. But the viruses of this disease are constantly mutating, so there is no complete protection against this disease( there are several thousand known strains of influenza).

    More recently, researchers have developed a new vaccine that has protected against a large number of known strains. Moreover, this was done almost simultaneously by two groups of scientists. Such achievements have brought physicians closer to creating a universal vaccine against this viral disease, which has many complications, including fatalities.

    The development of influenza vaccines is currently taking into account those strains that are common outside the exacerbation. At the same time scientists make forecasts about the probability of occurrence of certain strains in the upcoming season. Simultaneously, there are observations of the course of the disease and their pathogen in the previous season.

    At the same time, all predictions made by scientists can not be true 100%, which means that the introduction of a vaccine every year gives only partial protection against this viral disease. It should be borne in mind, however, that various mutations of influenza viruses are constantly occurring, which reduce the effectiveness of vaccination.

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    Under the influence of the introduced vaccine with the content of highly attenuated or killed viruses in the body, antibodies are being produced. If, during an exacerbation, a person meets with the influenza virus, the body is protected from the virus, since their contact has already taken place and the corresponding antibodies have been produced. They are the first to rush into the incoming viruses and neutralize their effect. This does not allow full development of the disease.

    A protein called haemagglutinin is responsible for fixing the influenza virus on the cell membrane. It was on him that the attention of scientists was concentrated in the course of recent research. In particular, we are talking about the study of a protein related to the H1N1 virus. This protein consists of two main components, among which one can identify a part that is similar in all strains of the virus, as well as a part that varies for each strain.

    In the course of ongoing research, scientists managed to remove the part that is constantly changing and leaving only the permanent part as the main component of the vaccine. But as a result, the protein was weak and the antibodies could not bind to it.

    Some activities aimed at protein strengthening have also been carried out. In particular, one group of scientists used a two-stage method. First, they used several mutations to stabilize the haemagglutinin protein, and then nanoparticles isolated from bacteria were attached.

    Another group of scientists used a combination of mutations to redistribute subunits in the protein. This was sufficient for a reliable vaccine structure.

    Studies on this are not finished. In the future, scientists plan to create a vaccine that would provide protection against strains containing H7 and H3.This will bring scientists closer to the creation of a universal vaccine against influenza.

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