Towards a more effective treatment than the vaccine to counter the flu?

Towards a more effective treatment than the vaccine to counter the flu?


Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario believe they have found a way to finally effectively combat the influenza epidemics that recur every year. 

Professor Matthew Miller's team succeeded in eliciting a strong immune reaction against influenza in mice by combining antibody therapy with taking antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, already used to treat flu symptoms.

The drug combination enables the immune system to better identify flu-infected cells, regardless of strain, and destroy them before the virus spreads through the body, said doctoral student Ali Zhang, who led the study.

“This approach allows us to knock out a crucial component of the virus, and also to strengthen our immune system so that it can better track down and stop the virus. 'infection,' he explained in comments relayed by the McMaster University website.

In the eyes of Professor Matthew Miller, who heads the Institute for Infectious Diseases Research, it is high time to develop a new treatment to prevent the ravages of influenza.

“We must to really come up with better strategies to protect people from flu outbreaks because right now we don't have anything. Our annual vaccines do not protect us. And we can't produce them fast enough when a new epidemic arises, ”said Mr. Miller, also quoted by the university website.

Year after year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies greatly, depending on the strains of influenza used to design it and those that are actually found in circulation.

“The protection offered by the vaccine against the flu is therefore not 100%. The vaccine prevents influenza in approximately 40 to 60% of healthy people when the strains of virus it contains correspond well to the strains in circulation”, recalls the Ministry of Health of Quebec on its website. /p>

During the last pre-pandemic influenza season of COVID-19, in 2018-2019, more than 48,000 cases of influenza were laboratory confirmed in Canada. More than 3,600 have resulted in hospitalizations, including 613 in intensive care, while the virus has led to 224 deaths.

The method developed by McMaster researchers to fight the flu, which made the subject of a scientific article published in the journal “Cell Reports Medicine”, could change the situation in CHSLDs and other care centers for the elderly, believe the scientists.