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Published on 9 January 2009

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Flu virus breakthrough cash grant


A flu vaccine that may be effective against all strains of the disease has won St Andrews University a £150,000 funding award.

Researchers at the university’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences are developing proteins to mask sugar molecules in the respiratory tract, which all flu viruses must bind to in order to cause an infection.

Research is in its preliminary stage, and the money has been awarded under a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council scheme aimed at producing a sound business plan.

It will involve collaborations with Edinburgh University, UK, the World Health Organisation Centre for Influenza Viruses, and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, USA.

Professor Garry Taylor said: “The influenza virus continues to be a major problem, as evidenced by the recent outbreaks in the UK and there is the constant threat of a major pandemic.

“Vaccines provide good protection against currently-circulating strains of influenza, but are not effective in giving protection against a completely new strain that may arise.

“There are two drugs currently used for the treatment of influenza, but the virus has already become resistant to one of these.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Centre for Biomolecular Sciences

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