New research published in the most recent issue of Nature suggests that people who survived the deadly 1918 flu epidemic may still be producing antibodies strong enough to kill new strains of bird flu.
“…But now researchers have come up with a new way of tackling such an outbreak.
They studied 32 people who lived through the 1918 flu, and found all still had antibodies in their blood to destroy the virus. Some of the volunteers – aged from 91 to 101 – even had the cells which produce the antibodies. The researchers used the antibodies to cure infected mice – showing, they said, that 90 years on, the survivors of the epidemic were still protected.
The antibodies were particularly powerful – so that only a small amount was needed to kill off the virus.”