Certain antibodies that develop in the immune system of individuals who have received seasonal flu vaccines appear to broadly neutralize H7 viruses, including the H7N9 avian flu, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In order to determine whether seasonal vaccinations would also induce the production of antibodies against rare flu strains, the team of researchers selected 83 antibodies found in blood samples of 28 vaccinated individuals that reacted with H3N2. When tested, 7% of these antibodies reacted against rare H7 strains, even though H7 strains were not included in the vaccines the subjects received.

The researchers theorized that the potency of these antibodies could be due to the viral anatomy of the influenza virus – binding to specific sites of the virus allows the antibodies to neutralize a range of influenza strains – although further research will be needed before clinical applications are apparent.Read the entire article here: J Clin Invest. 2015 (doi:10.1172/JCI74374).

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