A universal flu vaccine may be possible in five years

Nobody enjoys getting the flu.

Almost everyone has had to deal with the flu sometime in their lives. Flu viruses are almost impossible to avoid, since the shape-shifting little bugger is always changing its form and creating new strains each year. Yet researchers at the Imperial College London say they have made a “blueprint” for a universally effective flu vaccination that will be effective in treating any new strains that come along.

 

 

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Brace yourselves for the worst flu season in a decade

The latest influenza activity update in the U.S. has just been released by the CDC  and it’s not a pretty picture. First things first: GET VACCINATED. If you’re over six months old or someone you interact with on a regular basis is at high risk of flu complications (i.e. young, old, pregnant, immunocompromised, etc.):  GET VACCINATED. This year’s flu  virus has arrived early and it has health officials across the country bracing themselves for what could be the worst flu season in a decade.

 

 

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How your pillow is an ideal breeding ground for undesirable pests and diseases

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Pillows are ideal breeding grounds for undesirables ranging from the superbugs MRSA and C.diff to flu, chicken pox and even leprosy.

a study has found that up to a third of the weight of your pillow could be made up of bugs, dead skin, dust mites and their feces.

 

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Life Expectancy in the U.S. Sets New Record, Surpasses 78 Years

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Life expectancy at birth rose for babies born in 2009.

U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high, rising above 78 years. The estimate of 78 years and 2 months is for a baby born in 2009, and comes from a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

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A Step Closer to a Universal Flu Shot That Protects for Life

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Antibodies developed in patients who had the H1N1 pandemic flu strain that protect against a variety of flu strains.

The swine flu outbreak that swept across the globe claiming over 14,000 lives could provide scientists with a vital clue to creating a universal vaccine, a study claims. Researchers have found several patients infected with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu strain have developed antibodies that are protective against a variety of flu strains.

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Eating Almonds Can Help the Body Fight Off Viruses

eating almonds

Eating almonds boosts immune system response to viruses.

Eating almonds can help the body to fight off viral infections such as the common cold and flu, according to new research.  A new study has revealed that naturally occurring chemicals found in the skin of the nut boost the immune system’s response to such infections.

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Researchers Working To Treat Pandemic Flu By Arming The Immune System

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Researchers creating a new vaccine against H1N1 hope to harness the power of the immune system’s dendritic cells, which are responsible for directing the body’s immune response.

Viruses multiply incredibly quickly once they’ve infected their victim–so fast that antiviral medications such as Tamiflu are only effective if given during the first few days of an infection. After that, the viral load is just too high for a single drug to fight off. But researchers are working on a treatment for the H1N1 virus (or swine flu) that uses a different approach. Rather than disabling the virus with a drug, they’re creating a vaccine that can activate and steer a patient’s own immune cells to attack the invader.

 

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Less Education Means More H1N1 Concern In The U.S.

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Low-income Americans with no more than a high school education appear more likely to get vaccinated against H1N1 swine flu than people with more money and better schooling, according to a poll released on Friday.   A telephone survey of 3,003 U.S. adults conducted by Thomson Reuters found that 49.8 percent of people with lower education levels were very concerned about H1N1, compared with only 29 percent of those with at least a four-year college degree.

 

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New H1N1 Flu Can Kill Fast According To Researchers

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A drawing of a pig and a biohazard sign mark the door of a lab where samples are tested for the H1N1 swine flu virus

The new H1N1 flu is “strikingly different” from seasonal influenza, killing much younger people than ordinary flu and often killing them very fast, World Health Organization officials said on Friday.   A review of studies done during the seven months the virus has been circulating shows it is usually mild, but can cause unusual and severe symptoms in an unlucky few, according to a WHO-sponsored meeting in Washington this week.

 

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Flu Vaccines Hit A Wall – Scientists Struggle To Speed Vaccine Development

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Making a vaccine against seasonal influenza is a constant catch-up game. Scientists must predict which of the constantly mutating virus strains will be most virulent six months in the future, the amount of time it takes to manufacture the vaccine. The system has worked well enough for the regular flu. But when new, virulent strains emerge–including the current, rapidly spreading swine flu (H1N1)–the traditional approach falls short. Even as consumers clamored for a vaccine, it took seven months and around 48,000 confirmed U.S. cases before the first H1N1 vaccines were shipped to hospitals around the country.

 

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Aspirin Misuse Behind Huge Death Toll in 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic

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High doses of aspirin were used to treat patients during the 1918-1919 pandemic

The high death toll during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic might be attributed to the misuse of aspirin, says an article.
Aspirin (Getty Images)
Published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, the article sounds a cautionary note at a time when health experts are discussing their concerns about the novel H1N1 virus.
The write-up points out that high doses of aspirin were used to treat patients during the 1918-1919 pandemic.
Of late, adds the article, such high dosing has been found to increase the risk of toxicity and a dangerous build up of fluid in the lungs.
It further states that these toxicity and fluid build-up in the lungs might have contributed to the incidence and severity of symptoms, bacterial infections, and mortality during the 1918-1919 pandemic.
Additionally, autopsy reports from 1918 are consistent with what is currently known about the dangers of aspirin toxicity, as well as the expected viral causes of death.
Dr. Karen Starko, the author of article, says that the motivation behind the improper use of aspirin is a cautionary tale.
In 1918, notes the writer, doctors did not fully understand either the dosing or pharmacology of aspirin, yet they were willing to recommend it.
Its use was promoted by the drug industry, endorsed by doctors wanting to “do something”, and accepted by families and institutions desperate for hope, the author says.
“Understanding these natural forces is important when considering choices in the future. Interventions cut both ways. Medicines can save and improve our lives. Yet we must be ever mindful of the importance of dose, of balancing benefits and risks, and of the limitations of our studies,” Dr. Starko said.

The high death toll during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic might be attributed to the misuse of aspirin, says an article.

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