Tag Archives: medical-news

Researchers move closer to development of universal flu vaccine

Researchers say they have made a major step towards the development of a universal flu vaccine, after a new immunotherapy approach has shown promise in animal studies, Medical News Today reported. The method involves creating a stronger immune reaction against the flu virus in the body, protecting against more viral strains than the current vaccines do. A new flu vaccine is developed each year in order to offer the most protection against the circulating viruses.  But for the developers, it is usually a race against the clock, as the data they use quickly becomes out of date once it reaches them. Also, there is always the possibility that new flu virus strains will emerge after the vaccine has been created. The development of a universal flu vaccine would eliminate the need for the development of annual flu shots. To test their new approach, researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) created a vaccine that utilized a fusion of the protein ferritin, which can assemble itself into tiny nanoparticles, and the protein hemagglutinin (HA), which is found on the surface of the influenza virus.   The protein combination ultimately produced nanoparticles with eight protruding viral spikes, which served as the basis for the vaccine’s antigen – what the immune system responds to when creating antibodies. Through a series of tests on mice and ferrets, the researchers found the vaccine was more effective at boosting immunity against a much wider range of virus strains than the current flu vaccine, including strains they were not testing for. According to the researchers, the vaccine is effective because it prompts the immune system to develop antibodies to the parts of the flu virus that stay the same from strain to strain.  They say the study’s findings, published in the journal Nature, could lead to a universal flu vaccine that protects against numerous strains of the influenza virus. Click for more from Medical News Today.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/23/researchers-move-closer-to-development-universal-flu-vaccine/

20 percent of handbags carry more bacteria than a toilet

One in five handbags contain higher levels of bacteria than the average toilet, Medical News Today reported. The study, conducted by British company Initial Washroom Hygiene, suggested that the bacteria found on handbags are significant enough to pose a threat to human health. “Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high – especially as bags are rarely cleaned,” said Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Hygiene. Leather handbags contain the highest levels of bacteria, Medical News Today reported, because the soft material acts as a breeding ground for germs. The insides of handbags are contaminated with high levels of bacteria too, and bottles of hand cream emerged as the dirtiest item inside women’s purses, the study revealed. To minimize germs, women should try to clean their handbags regularly with antibacterial wipes or handbag cleaners. The study also suggested women wash or sanitize their hands after touching the inside or outside of their purses. “Once these germs get on the bags, they can easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces. Regular hand sanitization is essential to prevent the presence of bacteria in the first place and thorough cleaning of bags is recommended to prevent the build-up of contamination,” Barratt said. Click for more from Medical News Today. source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/20/20-percent-handbags-carry-more-bacteria-than-toilet/