Agriculture
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Got Milk? How?
Amphibians
Frogs and Toads
Tree Frogs
Newts
Animals
Vampire Bats on the Run
Sleep Affects a Bird's Singing
G-Tunes with a Message
Behavior
Sugar-pill medicine
Brain cells take a break
Fear Matters
Birds
Waterfowl
Hawks
Swifts
Chemistry and Materials
Undercover Detectives
When frog gender flips
Heaviest named element is official
Computers
The science of disappearing
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Some Dinos Dined on Grass
Dinosaurs Grow Up
The man who rocked biology to its core
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Snowflakes and Avalanches
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Undersea Vent System Active for Ages
Environment
A Newspaper's Hidden Cost
Indoor ozone stopper
A Change in Climate
Finding the Past
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Childhood's Long History
Early Maya Writing
Fish
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Puffer Fish
Tilapia
Food and Nutrition
Healing Honey
Symbols from the Stone Age
Yummy bugs
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Mastering The GSAT Exam
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
It's a Math World for Animals
Losing with Heads or Tails
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Human Body
Flu Patrol
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
Gut Microbes and Weight
Invertebrates
Caterpillars
Leeches
Scorpions
Mammals
Asiatic Bears
Tigers
Shih Tzus
Parents
How children learn
Children and Media
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Einstein's Skateboard
Road Bumps
IceCube Science
Plants
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
A Change in Leaf Color
Reptiles
Copperhead Snakes
Caimans
Crocodiles
Space and Astronomy
Dark Galaxy
An Earthlike Planet
Holes in Martian moon mystery
Technology and Engineering
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Pronouns
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Where rivers run uphill
Weather
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Arctic Melt
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Add your Article

A Better Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot hurts, but getting the flu is even worse. Every winter, sore throats, fevers, and other flu symptoms keep lots of kids home from school. And unfortunately, the shot, which is supposed to prevent people from getting the flu, doesn't always work as well as doctors would like. Now, researches have found a new, quicker way to

Getting a flu shot hurts, but getting the flu is even worse. Every winter, sore throats, fevers, and other flu symptoms keep lots of kids home from school. And unfortunately, the shot, which is supposed to prevent people from getting the flu, doesn’t always work as well as doctors would like.

In a study during the 2004–2005 flu season, 151 people were given a high dose of a caterpillar-assisted vaccine. None came down with the flu. Just 2 of 150 people who got a low dose of the new vaccine got sick. In comparison, 7 of 153 people given a fake vaccine developed the flu.

“This is the first time this … vaccine has been shown to protect people against the flu,” says John J. Treanor of the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center, who led the study.

The flu, also called influenza, is caused by a virus that mutates over time. So, every summer, scientists try to guess which strains of the virus are going to spread around the globe the next winter. They then develop a vaccine to fight those strains.

The old vaccine contains a small amount of the influenza virus. Given the right dose, our bodies learn how to fight the virus without actually getting sick.

For years, vaccine makers have grown the old flu vaccine inside of chicken eggs. Doing this, however, takes 6 months. That’s too long to make changes during years when the vaccine isn’t working as well as it should.

That’s why some researchers think that caterpillar cells might make better flu-vaccine factories than chicken eggs. In the study, researchers at Protein Sciences Corporation grew caterpillar cells in the lab. Then, they infected the cells with a type of insect virus called a baculovirus.

Normally, baculovirus produces a specific baculovirus protein. The researchers altered the virus, however, so that it churned out an influenza protein instead. When injected into people, this protein caused their immune systems to build up defenses against the flu.

Each strain of influenza makes a slightly different version of the influenza protein. Using caterpillar cells as factories instead of chicken eggs, scientists could make quicker changes if they realized that the vaccine they were currently making would not be effective against the coming flu season’s strain.

The new technique would take 2 months instead of 6 to produce flu vaccines, the researchers say. That speed could save lives. About 36,000 people die of the flu in the United States each year. Another 226,000 end up in the hospital because of it.

But before caterpillar cells can become a front-line weapon against the flu, scientists have some more work to do.

“Overall, I’d say it’s encouraging,” says Gary Nabel, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. But “is it ready to swoop in tomorrow and replace conventional vaccines? No.”—E. Sohn

 

A Better Flu Shot
A Better Flu Shot








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™