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Universal flu vaccine comes closer to reality

Updated: Mar 12, 2013, 15:35 PM IST

Melbourne: Researchers from Melbourne have claimed that they have found a new way to protect people against new strains of the flu virus.

They said in a statement that the University of Melbourne, Monash University and international scientists worked together and found how the virus evades immune systems by introducing specific mutations within its viral proteins, the Herald Sun reported.

They believe that the findings may lead to a new universal flu vaccine that can provide better protection against both seasonal and pandemic outbreaks.

Their statement read that the findings will also help researchers understand T cell immunity against other viral infections like HIV, hepatitis C and tumours.

Lead author Professor Peter Doherty, from the University of Melbourne, said that predicting and designing vaccines to protect against such mutants can promote T cell immunity.

He said that the studies suggested that an influenza vaccine that targets T cells and recognises distinct virus strains could provide universal immunity against any future influenza strain.