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The end of influenza?
December 28, 2006 3:55 PM   Subscribe

The end of influenza? New british vaccine may prevent ALL types of flu, savings thousands of lives (and sick days) each year.
posted by Kickstart70 (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
!
posted by SeizeTheDay at 4:06 PM on December 28, 2006


Normally, such vaccines would have to go through at least five years of human tests before going on the market. However, if a bird flu pandemic occurs before that, they could be made more quickly available.

"So what you are telling me, Doctor, is that I'm probably going to contract the bird flu and have a __% chance of dying (insert mortality rate here) OR I could try something that has not had 5 years of human tests which might vaccinate me from getting it, but we're not sure because there wasn't time to do the normal human tests? GREA-AAAATE."

Even worse? They are "on the verge" of such a vaccine. That's what they say when they are fishing for more funding. It's the medical equivelent of vaporware.
posted by spock at 4:16 PM on December 28, 2006


If it works, it will be lovely," he said.

Yeah, what he said.
posted by spock at 4:17 PM on December 28, 2006


Now we just need vaccines for the 105 known Rhinoviruses, the 5 known enteroviruses, and the unknown number of coronaviruses, and nobody will have to suffer a sore throat ever again!

Seriously, if a successful vaccine is developed, this is very good news. Especially for the elderly.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:19 PM on December 28, 2006


From the very same article:
British scientists are on the verge of producing a revolutionary flu vaccine that works against all major types of the disease.

vs.

The new vaccines only protect against influenza A - the version of the bug responsible for pandemic flu and the most severe cases of winter flu.
However, it may also be possible to create a similar jab against influenza B, which causes a milder form of winter flu.

&

A similar universal flu vaccine, being developed by Swiss vaccine firm Cytos Biotechnology, could also be tested on people in 2007 - and the vaccines on the market in around five years.

Professor John Oxford, Britain's leading flu expert, ...added: "If you get a M2 vaccine which protects against the whole caboodle in the same vaccine, the possibilities are huge."

But, others cautioned that there is no guarantee that the jabs would be as effective in humans as it has been in animals.


1. Usual Jingoistic tinge...
2. ...welded to tabloid hype...
3.. ...quickly revealed to be quite fallacious, of course.

Plus - they (The Daily lying Mail) say that it's 5 years off, if it works at all.
So that's 10 then.

I really think the scientists & researchers could have waited - look what happens when you talk to the Mail too soon. A half baked patch of hype and hope.

I am a natural born sceptic, but when it's the Mail, I check the sky when they say it's blue.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:25 PM on December 28, 2006


Ah, it must be False Hope For The Elderly Day over at the Daily Mail.

It's a clever trick they do: Misleading headline + What could this mean? intro + mumbly backtracking outro hidden somewhere on page seven = HugeSales MegaProfits!1!

Still, it beats Scare The Shit Out Of The Elderly Day.
posted by Robot Rowboat at 4:33 PM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


On, er, post: almost exactly what dash_slot- said. Spook.
posted by Robot Rowboat at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2006


A Daily Mail article on a medical breakthrough is pretty much guaranteed to be misleading at best. As Ben Goldacre says:
...the Daily Mail does have an ongoing ontological program to divide all inanimate objects into ones that will either cause or cure cancer.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:40 PM on December 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


So only poor people will die in the coming global pandemic? That's usually the way of these things, I guess.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2006


...the Daily Mail does have an ongoing ontological program to divide all inanimate objects into ones that will either cause or cure cancer.

Where do they stand on beer?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm with dash_slot- on this one. Come and get me when you've got a working example. I'm thrilled that you guys seem to be making progress towards a very noble goal. But how's bout we hold off on the press releases till you have something you can put into sick peoples hands today.

I'd spend more time on this post, but I'm working on a cold fusion anti-gravity device that I suspect will end all of our energy concerns here on earth and let us colonize the stars as well. I just need a few years to iron out the kinks. Oh and a couple of billion dollars. That would help too. Think the Daily Mail would be interested in doing a story on me?
posted by quin at 4:47 PM on December 28, 2006


So only poor people will die in the coming global pandemic? That's usually the way of these things, I guess.

Well, we've got the National Health Service over here, so we'll likely all die. We'll have to wait our turn though.
posted by Robot Rowboat at 4:50 PM on December 28, 2006


Does it also resurrect Diana and bring down asylum seekers?
posted by fire&wings at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2006


Metafilter: a half baked patch of hype and hope.
posted by clevershark at 5:11 PM on December 28, 2006


Decent analysis of a similar 2005 announcement, at Effect Measure.

Acambis has succesfully produce a US$ half-billion worth of smallpox vaccine, and is trolling around for something to make with their factory and profits.

Something yucky happened to their stock in November. Hmmm.
posted by dhartung at 5:14 PM on December 28, 2006


And the winner is -
Robot Rowboat!
posted by speug at 5:24 PM on December 28, 2006


dhartung, according to a 6-K filing made on November 14th by Acambis:

Cambridge, UK and Cambridge, Massachusetts - 14 November 2006 - Acambis plc ("Acambis") (LSE: ACM; NASDAQ: ACAM) announces that it has received notification from the US Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") that its proposal is no longer being considered for award as part of the US Government's Modified Vaccinia Ankara ("MVA") smallpox vaccine tender process.

Acambis received notification late yesterday that HHS has re-evaluated Acambis' technical proposal and found that its proposal is no longer in the competitive range for award. As such, Acambis is no longer eligible to receive a contract. Acambis plans to request a meeting to gain further clarification, following which it will consider its options. The US National Institutes of Health has indicated that it intends to continue Acambis' existing MVA contracts at their current price and scope.

Gordon Cameron, Chief Executive Officer, said:

"We are surprised that the US Government would eliminate Acambis from the RFP process. We believe that our proposal would have met the requirements of the US Government, especially given Acambis' track record in the biodefence field."

-ends-

posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:27 PM on December 28, 2006


Very good and exciting news if they can pull it off. I am hopeful.
posted by LoriFLA at 5:37 PM on December 28, 2006


Just what the world needs: more old people. And fewer sick days.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:47 PM on December 28, 2006


No more flu, ever? Who will think of Big Pharma? Damn you and your anti-American capitalist-attacking ways, Commie Britain! Trying to hurt our economy while adding to the mass of retired people on a pension system, what a dirty underhanded trick!
posted by Saydur at 6:02 PM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think the world's in need of a population-crashing supervirus, myself. I just don't want to be one of the dead ones. Call me selfish.
posted by tehloki at 6:33 PM on December 28, 2006


Zurich-based Cytos, which is also developing anti-smoking and obesity vaccines, has showed that its version of the jab stops mice dying from a dose of flu strong enough to kill them four-times over.

I think that should be the tip off that this is not for serious anytime soon. An obesity vaccine? What's next? An acne vaccine? Vaccination against bad hair days?

(I'd totally take that last one.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:28 PM on December 28, 2006


Just to get the "good things are bad" argument that always manages to sneak in out of the way, what's next? A vaccine for being black?
posted by tehloki at 11:08 PM on December 28, 2006


British scientists are on the verge of producing a revolutionary flu vaccine that works against all major types of the disease.

If it's "on the verge" the article is all PR. It might or might not happen.
posted by kissol at 2:42 AM on December 29, 2006


Just because the M2 protein has been fairly well conserved for a long time doesn't mean that it'll be a good antigen for the human immune system to recognize (even if it's recognized by murine MHC). If it was a good antigen, why hasn't the human immune system managed to recognize it naturally in the first place and drive the selection against that M2 protein in influenza?

Also, there are some not-so-good reasons to grow up proteins in bacteria that are going to be injected into humans. The quality control to ensure that there is a not-unsafe level of endotoxin (and other 'pathogen-associated molecular patterns') is going to be a pain-in-the-ass. Sure, adjuvants have to be added to vaccine peptides, but it's added in very controlled amounts.

Remember that 'super monoclonal antibody' (against CD28 on T-cells) that worked great in animal models (probably by just killing off the T-cells from AICD) but killed a few people during the phase I study (probably because the T-cells in humans got superactivated and didn't AICD and thus turned into something resembling autoimmune disease)?

Animals can make great models, but there are differences in how the immune system works between mice and humans - some of which can be entirely unsuspected.
posted by porpoise at 10:03 AM on December 29, 2006


grapefruitmoon wrote: "I think that should be the tip off that this is not for serious anytime soon. An obesity vaccine?"

Well, why should this be an impossible thing? There are well-established signals used in the body to tell the brain when we are full. In some obese mouse models, the obesity is entirely due to a missing signal. Turns out not to work the same way in us, unfortunately, but there are other lines of research. Hell, someone just about a week ago announced that they had developed a shot to cure type 1 diabetes in mice. Easy for the media to take the idea (shot that cures a problem) and call it a vaccine even though it isn't one, strictly speaking.

Think of it this way: No sane company would release a news brief explaining how their still-in-development vaccine worked unless they already knew it had potential to bring in cash and (more importantly) had a patent in place. Otherwise every competitor would just jump on that before the original company brought it to market. I do not think this vaccine is necessarily as imaginary as you all seem to be saying it is.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:30 AM on December 29, 2006


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