American scientists have employed a curious ally in their efforts to develop flu treatment: flames.
The cry of this animal was used to produce new antibody therapy that could fight all kinds of influenza, including pandemics.
The flu is one of the most skilled diseases when it comes to changing shape and constantly mutates its appearance in order to avoid our immune system, which explains why vaccines are not always effective and every winter needs a new injection to prevent it.
That's why science is hunting in ways that stop all types of influenza, regardless of what it originates or how it mutates.
And there comes a flame, best known for its wool.
These Andya-specific animals produce incredibly small antibodies compared to ours.
The antibodies are weapons of the immune system and are attached to proteins that protrude from the surface of the virus.
Human antibodies usually attack the spikes of these proteins, but this is the most important part of the flu.
While the flame antibodies use their favorable sizes for the snake deeper and attack the parts that the flu can not change.
A team at the Scripps Institute in California has infected a flame with several types of influenza to induce an immune response.
Then they examined the blood of this auquénidos in search of the strongest antibodies that could attack a wide range of influenza strains.
Scientists finally selected four, and then began to develop their own synthetic antibodies that used the elements of each.
The result was tested in mice that gave lethal influenza doses.
"This is very effective, there were 60 different types of viruses that were used in the challenge and only one was not neutralized, and this is a virus that does not affect people," said Professor Ian Wilson, one of the researchers, program. BBC Science in Action.
"The goal here is to provide something that works from station to station and it also protects you against possible pandemics if they occur," the scientist explained.
The work was published in a scientific journal Science and is still at a very early stage, and the team wants to do even more tests before starting experiments with people.
The researchers used two different techniques in the use of antibodies in animals.
The first was their injection, and the second was in gene therapy.
Genetic instructions for the development of the antibody were packaged in a dangerous virus, which was then used to infect mouse nose.
And the cells in the nose pads started to produce antibodies against influenza.
An additional advantage of this is that it could work with the elderly.
The older immune system works, but less seasonal influenza vaccine is less effective.
However, this flame-based treatment does not require the training of our immune system.
Professor Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham told the BBC: "With treatment that can work on different types of viruses, there is something that is very interested – this is the Holy Grail of Flu."
"The treatment will have an appetite, but it will depend on how well it works, how expensive it will be," he said.