The best defence is a good offense: for better flu prevention
Influenza A viruses cause flu in both humans and animals. Despite originally coming from birds, some Influenza A viruses, such as the Mexican flu virus, can affect other animals and humans. Robert de Vries researched the ways in which different viruses attach to cells. Additionally he investigated whether technology developed by him could be applicable in the development of new vaccines.
Influenza A viruses infect their new hosts by attaching themselves to sugars (receptors) on the cell surface. During attachment they make use of a special protein, hemagglutinin (HA). By producing the various types of HA used by influenza in a laboratory setting, De Vries has been able to investigate how the protein binds to the receptors. This knowledge is important if we are to understand how a virus originating from animal hosts can adapt itself to human receptors.
Additionally the researcher tested whether his manufactured HA's could be used as vaccines. Antibodies for HA protect against infection by the influenza A virus. De Vries' approach was successful in chickens, mice, ferrets and pigs. It could therefore be an attractive alternative to existing vaccines.
|Date and time:
||University Hall, Domplein 29, Utrecht
||Robert Paul de Vries
||Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
||Soluble trimeric hemagglutinins to study receptor binding and immunogenic properties
||Prof. P.J.M. Rottier
||Dr. C.A.M. de Haan