Scientists have discovered that some killer T cells (immune cells) could fight all kinds of influenza virus. These Killer T cells can provide unprecedented immunity across all flu viruses and could help in producing one-shot universal influenca vaccine.
Killer T cells
They are type of white blood cell that roams body scanning for abnormalities and infections. They are essential for human immunity against host of invading bacteria and viruses. They are found in over half the world's population.
Need for universal vaccine
- According to World Health Organization, (WHO) influenza epidemics, largely seasonal, kill hundreds of thousands of people each year.
- Influenza virus are vastly diverse and keep mutating continuously and evade immune system. This makes it nearly impossible to predict and vaccinate against mutating strains of influenza virus.
- For this discovery, scientists had used mass spectrometry—a scanning technique that helps separate molecules based on their mas to identify parts of virus that are shared across all flu strains.
- Human lung tissue and in mice were conducted by injnecting peptides which activated killer T cells. Peptide responsible for activating killer T cells revealed remarkably reduced levels of flu virus and inflammation in the airways.
- It was found that killer T cells could effectively fight variations of influenza A, B and C, providing unprecedented immunity across all flu viruses.
Thus, T cells can be potentially used to develop all-encompassing flu shot that did not need to be changed annually.