Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Southwest Life

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Biologist Rebecca Gillespie holds a vial of flu-fighting antibodies at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Despite 100 years of science, the flu virus too often beats our best defenses because it constantly mutates.
Pipettes containing immune cells for testing against possible flu vaccines are seen in the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. There’s no way to predict what strain of the shape-shifting flu virus could trigger another pandemic like that of the 1918 influenza or, given modern medical tools, how bad it might be. But researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time.
In this 1918-1919 photo made available by the Library of Congress, a conductor checks to see if potential passengers are wearing masks in Seattle, Wash. During the influenza epidemic, masks were required for all passengers. The virus killed at least 50 million people, including 675,000 Americans. Some estimates put the toll as high as 100 million. By comparison, the AIDS virus has claimed 35 million lives over four decades.
In this November 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress a girl stands next to her sister lying in bed. The girl became so worried she telephoned the Red Cross Home Service who came to help the woman fight the influenza virus. No one knows the ultimate origin of that terrifying 1918 flu. But researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time. (
This 2005 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows recreated 1918 influenza virions that were collected from a 1918 cell culture. A century after one of history’s most catastrophic disease outbreaks, scientists are rethinking how to guard against another super-flu like the 1918 influenza that slaughtered tens of millions as it swept the globe in mere months. Although there’s no way to predict what strain of the shape-shifting flu virus could trigger another pandemic, researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, which would boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time.
Biologist Rebecca Gillespie pulls boxes of flu virus strains from a freezer at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. A major push is under way in labs around the country to create a super-shot that could eliminate the annual fall vaccination in favor of one shot every five or 10 years or maybe, eventually, a childhood immunization that could last for life.
In this 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tend to influenza patients in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, used as a temporary hospital. As scientists mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish influenza pandemic, labs around the country are hunting better vaccines to boost protection against ordinary winter flu and guard against future pandemics, too.

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Biologist Rebecca Gillespie holds a vial of flu-fighting antibodies at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Despite 100 years of science, the flu virus too often beats our best defenses because it constantly mutates.
Pipettes containing immune cells for testing against possible flu vaccines are seen in the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. There’s no way to predict what strain of the shape-shifting flu virus could trigger another pandemic like that of the 1918 influenza or, given modern medical tools, how bad it might be. But researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time.
In this 1918-1919 photo made available by the Library of Congress, a conductor checks to see if potential passengers are wearing masks in Seattle, Wash. During the influenza epidemic, masks were required for all passengers. The virus killed at least 50 million people, including 675,000 Americans. Some estimates put the toll as high as 100 million. By comparison, the AIDS virus has claimed 35 million lives over four decades.
In this November 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress a girl stands next to her sister lying in bed. The girl became so worried she telephoned the Red Cross Home Service who came to help the woman fight the influenza virus. No one knows the ultimate origin of that terrifying 1918 flu. But researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time. (
This 2005 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows recreated 1918 influenza virions that were collected from a 1918 cell culture. A century after one of history’s most catastrophic disease outbreaks, scientists are rethinking how to guard against another super-flu like the 1918 influenza that slaughtered tens of millions as it swept the globe in mere months. Although there’s no way to predict what strain of the shape-shifting flu virus could trigger another pandemic, researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, which would boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time.
Biologist Rebecca Gillespie pulls boxes of flu virus strains from a freezer at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. A major push is under way in labs around the country to create a super-shot that could eliminate the annual fall vaccination in favor of one shot every five or 10 years or maybe, eventually, a childhood immunization that could last for life.
In this 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tend to influenza patients in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, used as a temporary hospital. As scientists mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish influenza pandemic, labs around the country are hunting better vaccines to boost protection against ordinary winter flu and guard against future pandemics, too.

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during an interview in his office at the National Institutes of Health, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, in Bethesda, Md. As scientists mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish influenza pandemic, labs around the country are hunting better vaccines to boost protection against ordinary winter flu and guard against future pandemics, too. “We have to do better and by better, we mean a universal flu vaccine. A vaccine that is going to protect you against essentially all, or most, strains of flu,” said Fauci.

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Biologist Rebecca Gillespie places a vial of flu-fighting antibodies in ice at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Scientists now think people respond differently to vaccination based on their flu history.

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Biologist Jason Plyler prepares to test how immune cells react to possible flu vaccines at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. A major push is under way in labs around the country to create a super-shot that could eliminate the annual fall vaccination in favor of one shot every five or 10 years or just maybe, eventually, a childhood immunization that could last for life.

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

Biologist Jason Plyler holds a plate containing immune cells ready for genetic analysis at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, in Bethesda, Md. Researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time.

Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

In this October 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps personnel wear masks as they hold stretchers next to ambulances in preparation for victims of the influenza epidemic. A century after one of history’s most catastrophic disease outbreaks, scientists are rethinking how to guard against another super-flu like the 1918 influenza that slaughtered tens of millions as it swept the globe in mere months.
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