Scientists have identified a small family of lab-made proteins that neutralize a broad range of influenza A viruses, including the H5N1 avian virus, the 1918 pandemic influenza virus and seasonal H1N1 flu viruses. These human monoclonal antibodies, identical infection-fighting proteins derived from the same cell lineage, also were found to protect mice from illness caused by H5N1 and other influenza A viruses.
"This is an elegant research finding that holds considerable promise for further development into a medical tool to treat and prevent seasonal as well as pandemic influenza," notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "In the event of an influenza pandemic, human monoclonal antibodies could be an important adjunct to antiviral drugs to contain the outbreak until a vaccine becomes available."
Using standard methods of production, initial doses of a new influenza vaccine to fight pandemic influenza would be expected to take four to six months to produce.
Complete News Release at NIH