British and Swiss scientists have identified an antibody from a human patient that neutralizes main groups of influenza A viruses, which is being dubbed the "super antibody" F16.
"As the first and only antibody which targets all known subtypes of the influenza A virus, FI6 represents an important new treatment option," said Antonio Lanzavecchia in a statement. Lanzavecchia is Humabs' chief scientific officer and director of the Swiss Institute for Research in Biomedicine.
This could be a turning point in finding new ways to treat human and animal diseases resulting from the flu viruses, and paves the way to develop a universal flu vaccine.
"As we saw with the 2009 pandemic, a comparatively mild strain of influenza can place a significant burden on emergency services. Having a universal treatment which can be given in emergency circumstances would be an invaluable asset," said John Skehel of Britain's National Institute for Medical Research.
A universal flu vaccine would protect people from all flu strains for a number of years or for life, instead of having get protected every year from different flu strains. And of course, it would save lots of money and time from the vaccine makers' side.