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Report may spur quest for more versatile flu vaccines

first_imgJan 3, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – California scientists report that their analysis of the medical literature has yielded data on more than 600 molecular components of influenza A viruses that trigger immune responses, findings they hope will spur the search for vaccines offering protection against multiple flu strains.Scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LIAI) scanned more than 2,000 scientific articles in a hunt for data on influenza A molecular structures that interact with either of two major components of the immune system: T cells and antibody-producing B cells.Writing in the Jan 2 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that they found information on 602 such structures, called epitopes, from 13 different influenza A subtypes. These included one particular epitope that is shared by several human flu subtypes and the H5N1 avian flu virus.Flu vaccines now in use target two surface proteins, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Because these proteins constantly mutate, vaccines must be changed every year to match the strains expected to be circulating during the flu season. But scientists have long hoped to develop a vaccine that would target a viral protein that is “conserved,” or essentially the same, in different strains. Epitopes that different strains have in common could, scientists believe, be used to make a vaccine that would protect against multiple strains and could be used for years.”If we can find shared epitopes, it may be possible to develop an influenza vaccine with greater cross-protection for many different viruses,” Alessandro Sette, PhD, senior author of the study, commented in an LIAI news release.The authors used the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), described as the world’s largest repository of data on immune responses to infectious agents, to search the literature for influenza A epitopes. The La Jolla institute developed the IEDB with a $25 million contract awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2004. Sette said the IEDB collects all known antibody and T cell epitope information in one place and is available to scientists around the world (see link below).The researchers found 2,063 articles related to influenza A epitopes, of which 429 were deemed worthy of detailed examination. This led to the cataloging of 412 T cell epitopes and 190 antibody epitopes from 13 viral subtypes and 58 different strains. The analysis yielded important data but also revealed important information gaps, the researchers write.The relatively low number of antibody epitopes was surprising, the authors write, given that antibody titers are the only accepted measure of protection from flu.Only two H5N1 avian flu epitopes were found, both from a 2004 Vietnam strain of the virus. The lack of H5N1 epitope data is not surprising, given the recent emergence of the virus and the special biosecurity measures required for studying it, the researchers say.Antibody epitopes were identified from only 5 of the 10 viral proteins—most of them from hemagglutinin, neuraminidase, and M2—whereas T cell epitopes from all 10 proteins were identified. Only one antibody epitope—versus 160 T cell epitopes—was identified by studying human samples (rather than animal samples). The authors comment that interpreting epitope data from human samples is more complex because people, unlike lab animals, typically have been exposed to many flu strains over many years.Using an analysis tool developed as part of the IEDB, the authors found that a higher percentage of T cell epitopes than of antibody epitopes were shared by multiple viral strains. About 11% of T cell epitopes were 100% identical in human and avian strains, while 30% of them were 90% identical, and 50% were 80% identical. In contrast, only 2.7% of antibody epitopes were 100% identical, and less than 11% were found to be 80% identical.”In general, the results suggest that significant levels of interstrain cross-reactivity are likely for T cell epitopes, but much less so for Ab [antibody] epitopes,” the report says.Because not all antibody and T cell responses are protective, the researchers sifted their data for epitopes associated with protective immune responses in the lab. They found only 9 antibody and 9 T cell epitopes that met their criterion. Most of the protective T cell epitopes are found in both human and avian flu strains, while most of the antibody epitopes are not, they report.”However, one protective Ab epitope from the M2 protein shows appreciable conservation among the selected human influenza strains and H5N1,” the article states. “Because M2 is a relatively conserved protein, identification of protective Ab epitopes derived from this protein, as has been pointed out, holds promise for the future development of a universal influenza epitope-based vaccine.”The authors recommend research to address the gaps their analysis revealed, including more studies on antibody epitopes and efforts to identify more avian flu virus epitopes.Gregory A. Poland, MD, a flu vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., applauded the report, saying it should advance the search for a flu vaccine that targets a conserved viral component and offers protection against multiple strains. He directs the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology.”If you find a wholly conserved piece of the virus that doesn’t vary much between strains and provides cross protection between [H5N1] clade 1 and clade 2 viruses, that could be very exciting and could be the basis for developing a subunit vaccine,” Poland told CIDRAP News. “You could make it quickly and in huge quantity.”He also said the report could generate some controversy, given the division of opinion among vaccine experts on whether flu vaccines should be made from whole viruses or from viral subunits. Existing evidence shows that whole-virus vaccines are more immunogenic, but there is very little experience with subunit vaccines, he said.”The vaccine world is divided into whole-virus and subunit type people,” Poland said. “I happen to believe there’s a lot of merit to the subunit and peptide approach.”Poland also praised the LIAI researchers for collecting all the influenza A epitope data into a single database and making it possible to do types of analyses that couldn’t be done before. “It does expand the database and advances the knowledge,” he said.The NIAID, which supported the LIAI research, hailed it in a news release: “The study should help scientists who are designing new vaccines, diagnostics and immune-based therapies against seasonal and pandemic influenza because it reveals in molecular detail exactly where the immune system focuses on the viruses. . . . Information on shared protective epitopes is important for developing influenza vaccines that can provide broad protection against multiple strains of the virus.”However, the agency cautioned that the identification of conserved epitopes doesn’t necessarily mean that broadly protective vaccines are possible. “What is less clear from the analysis is how cross-reactive an immune response would be to most of these conserved epitopes,” the news release states. “Further analysis may assist scientists in identifying vaccine targets that might offer broader protection and in predicting how effective a new vaccine will be.”Bui H-H, Peters B, Assarsson E, et al. Ab and T cell epitopes of influenza A virus, knowledge and opportunities. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2007;104(1):246-51 [Abstract]See also:Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource homepagehttp://www.iedb.org/Jan 1 LIAI news release via EurekAlerthttp://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-01/ljif-lcw122606.php#Jan 3 NIAID news releasehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2007/Pages/NewDetailsImmuneSysFlu.aspxAug 25, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Acambis hopes to build a flu vaccine that lasts”last_img read more

EPL: Watford force Leicester to draw

first_imgRelatedPosts Gundogan tests positive for coronavirus EPL: Gunners gun for West Ham scalp EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Craig Dawson’s first Watford goal earned a last-gasp point for the relegation-threatened Hornets as they deservedly held Leicester to a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.With Ben Chilwell’s brilliant strike putting the visitors ahead at the start of stoppage time, Watford were still able to find an equaliser as Dawson’s acrobatic finish saw both side’s first game back finish in a thrilling 1-1 draw. Kicking off early, Nigel Pearson’s side were above the bottom three on goal difference alone and the point could yet prove vital.Marc Albrighton had earlier hit the crossbar for the visitors, while Kasper Schmeichel was forced into some smart saves as Watford looked to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone.Jamie Vardy, seeking his 100th Premier League goal, would have the first decent effort of the game, benefiting from poor defending from Christian Kabasele to break through and fire wide of Ben Foster’s left-hand post.As with most of the games since the restart, the intensity of a usual Premier League encounter was lacking in the opening stages, Wilfred Ndidi bending an effort wide just before the half-hour mark.Up to that point Watford had failed to have a shot of note on Schmeichel’s goal, restricted to crosses into the box which were well dealt with by the Leicester back-line. Abdoulaye Doucoure was gifted a chance following a mistake from Ndidi, with Schmeichel making a fine save with his legs to spare the blushes of his teammate.Watford should have gone in ahead at the break, Etienne Capoue’s fizzing pass led to Sarr crossing to the back-post where Kabasele and Roberto Pereyra got in each other’s way and the chance was lost.Unperturbed, Watford remained on top at the start of the second-half, Schmeichel again doing well as this time he denied Sarr after the winger had burst onto another fine Capoue pass.Deeney then nodded a cross inches wide while Caglar Soyuncu should have done better with a header of his own for the Foxes from a James Maddison free-kick.Leicester were now the side most likely to score, Albrighton rattling a strike against the woodwork before Foster got down well to keep out Maddison immediately afterwards. Chilwell then thought he had won it for Leicester, finishing superbly from a tight angle as the clock ticked into added time.But Watford rallied and Dawson was able to score with an overhead kick as a late corner deflected into his path.Tags: DRAWEnglish Premier LeagueLeicesterWatfordlast_img read more

‘He is becoming the best allrounder England’s ever had’-Anderson

first_imgBEN Stokes is well on his way to becoming the greatest allrounder England has ever produced, veteran teammate James Anderson believes.Speaking in the aftermath of Stokes’ player-of-the-match performance at Old Trafford, where he scored 176 and 78no and took three wickets during an emphatic series-levelling victory for the hosts, Anderson was clear on where the allrounder ranked in his eyes.“He’s certainly the best allrounder I’ve ever played with,” Anderson, who lined up in the same team as Andrew Flintoff from 2003 to 2009, said. “He’s becoming the best allrounder that England’s ever had.“There’s no reason why he can’t go on to become even better.”Stokes’ performance in Manchester saw him leap above West Indies captain Jason Holder to become the game’s top-ranked Test allrounder in the ICC rankings, while he sits third in the batting charts behind Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.“It’s hard to say how good he is because it’s hard to find the words,” Anderson said.“Joe (Root) said the other day we were in the presence of greatness and he’s spot on.“He gets into any team as a batsman, while his bowling gets better and better each time he goes out there. “It’s just amazing to have that talent in our team, and to be able to watch it first-hand as well was amazing.”Meanwhile, Anderson believes he and Stuart Broad remain part of England’s strongest bowling attack, and that both should be part of the XI for the third and deciding Test against West Indies starting Friday.The pair have not played in the same team in the first two Tests against the Windies, with 34-year-old Broad left out of the first game in Southampton.When he returned for the second at Old Trafford, it was 37-year-old Anderson who was rested.“If we’re both fit and England are picking their strongest bowling attack, we’d both be in that,” said Anderson.“It’s going to be difficult going forward, I don’t think we’ll play every game together but I love to think we’ve got plenty more games together in the future.”The cramped schedule, with just three days between each Test, has made rest and rotation a priority for England’s pace attack, who will also play a three-match series against Pakistan next month.But England coach Chris Silverwood has insisted he will pick his strongest attack for the series decider.Silverwood is facing a selection headache, with a fully fit contingent of fast bowlers to choose from for the deciding Test.Jofra Archer is seen as a likely starter, having return to the England camp after his biosecurity breach, creating a squeeze again between Anderson and Broad, while Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran have also staked claims over the two Tests.“Our record together speaks for itself,” Anderson said.“There will be moments in the future where we’re not bowling together, which has happened in this series already and happened in the last two years naturally through injury or resting.“But all me and Stuart can do is keep working hard and keep taking wickets, as Stuart did this week.”Anderson turns 38 on July 30 but insists another visit to Australia for the 2021-22 Ashes is well on his radar.“Looking at the bigger picture, I want to be around when we go to Australia for the next Ashes, so to be able to do that, I’ve certainly got to do things slightly differently.“It might mean missing the odd game here or there to make sure that I’m in the best possible situation.“I want to keep bowling and keep my form, but I also want to look after my body as much as I can as well. I’m a bit more open to it now than I was, say, two or three years ago.”last_img read more

AfroBasket: Buhari to Receive Victorious D’ Tigress Today

first_imgOlawale Ajimotokan in AbujaPresident Muhammadu Buhari will today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting receive D’Tigress as a mark of recognition to the team for clinching the 2017 AfroBasket Championship in Mali.The team arrived Abuja on Tuesday two days after they defeated Senegal 65-48 in Bamako, to clinch their third AfroBasket Championship.Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, said the presidential reception is a demonstration of Buhari’s passion for sports development.Team Captain, Alisha Mohammed and President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Musa Kida, presented the trophy to Dalung last night at a reception at the National Stadium, Abuja.The players presented a signed jersey to the minister as a token.Dalung said the victory will inspire the team to greater heights at the FIBA Women’s World Basketball Championship in Spain next year. He said the victory will justify the controversial sports reforms he introduced in June that produced a new board of the national sports federations.“I am convinced that if we do the right things, we will always get the right results. This victory has paled the weight of criticism we faced,” Dalung said.Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the team, assured that they would put in great efforts to excel in Spain.A member of the victorious team, Nkechi Akachi, said the tournament was tough, particularly the semi final match against Mali, which Nigeria narrowly won by 48-47.“It was a tough and demanding campaign. The semi final match against Mali could have gone either way. It was not easy when you are playing against the host team, the country, the referee and match commissioner. It was tough,” Akachi who was a member of the team that reached the semi final two years ago in Cameroon observed.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more