From The Press Association
Artificial particles which resemble virus material could form the basis of super-efficient vaccines, new research has suggested.
The nanoparticles have already been used to protect mice and monkeys against flu.
Scientists now hope to develop hybrid natural-synthetic vaccines that can prevent serious infections for a lifetime.
The experimental vaccine consists of a natural viral component, or antigen, plus two tiny synthetic nanoparticles.
The artificial particles are designed to stimulate specific immune system elements called toll-like receptors (TLRs).
TLRs sense molecules in viruses, bacteria and parasites and trigger signalling pathways that activate immune responses.
Lead scientist Professor Bali Pulendran, from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, US, said: “These particles could provide an instant way to stretch scarce supplies when access to viral material is limited, such as pandemic flu or during an emerging infection.