Discovery of immune cells able to defend against mutating viruses could transform vaccine developmenApril 30, 2018
Scientists have found immune cells can fight different strains of the same virus - a discovery which could help transform vaccine development.
Vaccines become ineffective when a virus mutates, and tackling this problem is a priority for researchers. Vaccinations aim to stimulate the body to produce "memory" cells which provide long-lasting protection from disease. Until now it was thought that these cells could only remember - and be able to protect against - one particular strain of virus.
Researchers have now found the immune system can produce memory cells which have the ability to recognise different strains of the same virus, rather than just one. This could help scientists transform the way vaccines are produced and given.
Diseases such as influenza, Dengue fever and AIDS are caused by viruses which constantly mutate, allowing them to hide from the immune system and evade any response from their host. Current vaccines can provide good protection against particular strains of virus but fail to protect against new strains caused by genetic mutation. For this reason the influenza vaccine, for example, has to be updated and administered annually, often with limited success, to pre-empt the appearance of new variant viruses.
Dr Harry White, from the University of Exeter, who led the Wellcome Trust-funded research, said: "Trying to find vaccines which can protect people against different strains of virus is a focus for scientists around the world. So far, despite a large global effort, there has been limited success in the war against virus mutation.
"We have found the immune system is able to recognise threats from new strains of a virus. We have long known of the existence of different types of immune memory cells, and now we know what these differences mean.
"After exposure to one strain of virus, these memory cells are then better able to recognise variants of the virus if they encounter them in the future. The immune system learns to protect against a whole group of related viruses, not just the one it experienced. It is this property that needs to be exploited to help make broadly protective vaccines."
The memory cells examined in this study are immature, or less developed, which allows them to more easily change and adapt to fight different viral strains. The antibodies from these cells are less focused on the infecting virus, but this is an advantage if the virus has mutated.
The research involved academics from the University of Exeter, University of Bristol and University of Birmingham testing the reaction of mice vaccinated with proteins from different strains of virus. Through painstakingly isolating hundreds of different individual cells and analysing the different antibodies each one made they were able to detect the presence of the immature cells that made these less focused antibodies. The mice which were immunised sequentially with proteins from different strains of the same virus produced more of these less developed memory cells.
Professor Rick Titball said "The holy grail for many scientists is to find a way of developing vaccines which work against all strains of a microorganism. This work could bring us a step closer to this and avoid, for example, the need to develop a new flu vaccine each year"
Variant proteins stimulate more IgM+ GC B-cells revealing a mechanism of cross-reactive recognition by antibody memory is published in the journal eLife.
University of Exeter
Related Immune System Articles:
There is a strong correlation between our fear of infection and our skepticism towards immigrants.
The bacterium Salmonella enterica causes gastroenteritis in humans and is one of the leading causes of food-borne infectious diseases.
Monash University (Australia) and Cardiff University (UK) researchers have come a step further in understanding how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) evades the immune system.
Eating carbohydrates during intense exercise helps to minimise exercise-induced immune disturbances and can aid the body's recovery, QUT research has found.
By studying a large protein (the C1 protein) with X-rays and electron microscopy, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have established a new model for how an important part of the innate immune system is activated.
Dendritic cells represent an important component of the immune system: they recognize and engulf invaders, which subsequently triggers a pathogen-specific immune response.
Researchers have seen, for the very first time, how the human immune system recognizes tuberculosis (TB).
A newly discovered protein from a fungus is able to suppress the innate immune system of plants.
Pathogen epitopes are fragments of bacterial or viral proteins. Nearly a third of all existing human epitopes consist of two different fragments.
Tuberculosis tricks the immune system into attacking the body's lung tissue so the bacteria are allowed to spread to other people, new research from the University of Southampton suggests.
Related Immune System Reading:
How the Immune System Works (The How it Works Series)
by Lauren M. Sompayrac (Author)
How the Immune System Works has helped thousands of students understand what’s in their big, thick, immunology textbooks. In his book, Dr. Sompayrac cuts through the jargon and details to reveal, in simple language, the essence of this complex subject.
In fifteen easy-to-read chapters, featuring the humorous style and engaging analogies developed by Dr. Sompayrac, How the Immune System Works explains how the immune system players work together to protect us from disease – and, most importantly, why they do it this way.
Rigorously updated for this fifth... View Details
The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease
by Susan Blum (Author), Mark Hyman (Foreword), Michele Bender (Foreword)
One of the most sought-after experts in the field of functional medicine shares her proven four-step program to treat, reverse, and prevent autoimmune conditions and repair your immune system.
• Are you constantly exhausted?
• Do you frequently feel sick?
• Are you hot when others are cold, or cold when everyone else is warm?
• Do you have trouble thinking clearly, aka “brain fog”?
• Do you often feel irritable?
• Are you experiencing hair loss, dry skin, or unexplained weight fluctuation?
• Do your joints ache or swell but you don’t know... View Details
The Immune System: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Paul Klenerman (Author)
The immune system is central to human health and the focus of much medical research. Growing understanding of the immune system, and especially the creation of immune memory (long lasting protection), which can be harnessed in the design of vaccines, have been major breakthroughs in medicine.
In this Very Short Introduction, Paul Klenerman describes the immune system, and how it works in health and disease. In particular he focuses on the human immune system, considering how it evolved, the basic rules that govern its behavior, and the major health threats where it is... View Details
The Immune System, 4th Edition
by Peter Parham (Author)
A clear, concise, and contemporary presentation of immunological conceptsThis text emphasizes the human immune system and presents concepts with a balanced level of detail to describe how the immune system works. Written for undergraduate, medical, veterinary, dental, and pharmacy students, it makes generous use of medical examples to illustrate points. This classroom-proven textbook offers clear writing, full-color illustrations, and section and chapter summaries that make the content accessible and easily understandable to students. View Details
Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System, 5e
by Abul K. Abbas MBBS (Author), Andrew H. H. Lichtman MD PhD (Author), Shiv Pillai MBBS PhD (Author)
In this updated edition of Basic Immunology, the authors continue to deliver a clear, modern introduction to immunology, making this the obvious choice for today's busy students. Their experience as teachers, course directors, and lecturers helps them to distill the core information required to understand this complex field. Through the use of high-quality illustrations, relevant clinical cases, and concise, focused text, it's a perfectly accessible introduction to the workings of the human immune system, with an emphasis on clinical relevance.... View Details
Immune System: 101 Natural Ways to Boost your Immune System, Fight Germs, and Live a Healthy Life
by Living in Health (Author)
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM! 101 NATURAL WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM, FIGHT GERMS, AND LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE Your immune system is the body’s only line of defense against both foreign and internal threats. It is clear therefore that you must maintain your immune system in the best possible condition for optimal health. It is not a myth that some foods are better than others at boosting our immunity. If you were ever wondering what might be the best foods in the world to help keep your immune system in the best shape, then this book is simply the way to go. It really helps to have a great... View Details
The Immune System, 3rd Edition
by Peter Parham (Author)
The Immune System, Third Edition emphasizes the human immune system and synthesizes immunological concepts into a comprehensible, up-to-date, and reader-friendly account of how the immune system works.
Written for undergraduate, medical, veterinary, dental, and pharmacy students in immunology courses, it makes generous use of medical examples to illustrate points.
The Third Edition has been extensively revised and updated and includes two new chapters on innate and adaptive immunity, which explore the physical, cellular, and molecular principles... View Details
Boost Your Immune System: Strategies for Strengthening Your Immune System with Foods, Herbs, Stress Management, and More!
by Editors of Publications International Ltd. (Author)
Get and stay healthy, the natural way! Boost Your Immune System is packed with information on how to boost your immune system.
Chapter topics include sleep, stress management (meditation, exercise, gratitude, mindfulness, massage, and more), power foods, vitamins and herbs, environmental factors and preventative medicine, and home remedies for getting over common ailments quickly.
You'll learn how your immune system works, how to fine-tune it by eating certain foods and vitamins, and how your mind and body work together to produce optimal health.
4-color photography enhances the book. View Details
Immune: How Your Body Defends and Protects You (Bloomsbury Sigma)
by Catherine Carver (Author)
The human body is like an exceedingly well-fortified castle, defended by billions of soldiers--some live for less than a day, others remember battles for decades, but all are essential in protecting us from disease. This hidden army is our immune system, and without it we could not survive the eternal war between us and our microscopic enemies.
Immune explores the incredible arsenal that lives within us--how it knows what to attack and what to defend, and how it kills everything from the common cold to the plague bacterium. We see what happens when the immune system turns on... View Details
Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free
by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (Author)
In Super Immunity, world-renowned health expert and New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live Dr. Joel Fuhrman offers a nutritional guide to help you live longer, stronger, and disease free.
Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t believe the secret to staying healthy lies in medical care—rather, the solution is to change the way we eat. With more than 85 plant-based recipes, a two-week menu plan, and lists of super foods that boost immunity, Dr. Fuhrman’s proven strategies combine the latest data from clinical tests, nutritional research, and results from... View Details