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Synthetic Protein Protects Mice Against Flu, Study

Synthetic Protein Protects Mice Against Flu, Study

(epharmanews) – Scientists identified a protein that boosts the immune system, a discovery which may pinpoint a potential way to prevent the flu, according to a new animal study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Researchers said that the synthetic protein called EP67 was found able to set off an immune response to the threat caused by the flu virus in less than 120 minutes in mice.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preventive treatment for flu right now include a flu shot designed to protect against certain strains of the flu virus that are expected to be prevalent during any year. This shot allows antibodies to develop against those particular flu strains. This new protein, however, does not protect only against certain flu strains; rather it supports the whole immune system, as the researchers explained in PLoS ONE.

Researcher Joy Phillips, Ph.D. said: "When you find out you've been exposed to the flu, the only treatments available now target the virus directly but they are not reliable and often the virus develops a resistance against them,"

"EP67 could potentially be a therapeutic that someone would take when they know they've been exposed that would help the body fight off the virus before you get sick."

The researchers studied the effect of this protein on mice which had flu and compared it with other mice which had the flu virus but were not injected with the protein.

When mice are infected with flu they as much as fifth of their weight. The researchers found that if mice were given the protein in the first 24 hours of being infected with the flu, they either didn't experience any weight loss or just a little weight loss (6 percent, on average) compared with the mice not given the protein.

It is recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older should be vaccinated against the flu, according to the CDC, especially people at high risk for flu complications (such as pregnant women, older people who have other health conditions). However, some people should ask the doctor before getting vaccinated against the flu, explains CDC.

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Prepared by: Hasan Zaytoon

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