ATLANTA, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Those who were sick and then recovered from pandemic H1N1 flu may enjoy extraordinary flu immunity, U.S. researchers report.
First author Jens Wrammert of Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory Vaccine Center says infection with the 2009 pandemic influenza strain has induced broadly protective antibodies.
"These findings show that these types of antibodies can be induced in humans, if the immune system has the right stimulation," Wrammert says in a statement.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, used the genes to produce antibodies -- a total of 86 varieties -- and then tested which flu strains the antibodies reacted against.
The team reports five of the antibodies had the ability to bind with all of the last decade's seasonal H1N1 strains, the devastating 1918 "Spanish flu" and a potentially lethal H5N1 avian flu strain.
"The result is something like the Holy Grail for flu-vaccine research," study author Patrick Wilson of the University of Chicago says in a statement. "The surprise was that such a very different influenza strain, as opposed to the most common strains, could lead us to something so widely applicable."
Wrammert, Wilson and colleagues suggest their findings could lead to the much sought-after "pan-influenza vaccine."