Science Media: Why do I even bother...

Me, about three weeks ago:

Super Awesome influenza antibodies: Slightly more helpful than Super Awesome HIV antibodies

This morning:

Weve had broadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV World for like, 20 years now. We still dont have an HIV-1 vaccine. While it is 'hoped' that identifying these kinds of antibodies will help aid in vaccine design, I am unaware of a real-world example by which one could hang those hopes. There is no precedent for assuming those hopes' will ever result in 'better' vaccines. I wish Influenza World the best of luck in their attempts, but I am not even remotely hopeful for a 'universal flu vaccine' from finding these antibodies. Im hopeful for a novel treatment for emergency situations.

More like this

*heavy-sigh* HIV Research World is infecting other fields: A Highly Conserved Neutralizing Epitope on Group 2 Influenza A Viruses Media coverage of referenced paper:Discovery of Natural Antibody Brings a Universal Flu Vaccine a Step Closer No, it doesnt. Unless if by 'universal flu vaccine' you…
Its no secret that Im not a huge fan of the antibody hunter branch of the HIV-1 research world-- they search through thousands and thousands and thousands of B-cells looking for one or two that can perform a neat trick. They are brilliant people working really hard doing things that have limited…
Okay, for real, you guys-- unless I am on here screaming "OMFG WE CURED AIDS" "OMFG WE HAVE AN HIV VACCINE AHHHH" etc, promise me you all wont believe anything you read via AP or USATODAY or any of that crap? There is a neat paper out in Science (not available even to normal Science subscribers,…
Antibody Discovered for 91% of HIV Strains *sigh* For all intents and purposes, Ive talked about this before. Not *this* antibody, but other SUPER AWESOME ANTIBODIES OMFG BREAKTHROUGH! Your adaptive immune system operates by, what I would call, picoevolution. It is chance + random mutations +…

Have you seen this?

By Optimus Primate (not verified) on 29 Jul 2011 #permalink

Could antibody not be used in a prophylactic/therapeutic manner prior to any use in developing vaccines?
I do agree that the media response has been a bit nuts with this!

Optimus--Nope! Ill check it out tonight!

Connor-- Totally! Drug resistant forms, random scary virulent forms before we can get a vaccine formulated, old/young/sick folks who cant fight influenza on their own-- this antibody might one day be a great weapon for MDs to have in their tool box.

Not sure how useful it will be to the vaccine designers, though.

I always wondered that if you understood what the amazing antibody recognised could you somehow reverse engineer the epitope sequence in a way that would allow you to generate the peptide and use that in vaccine development?

Then this may force the persons immune system to target that sequence. Not sure how feasible that would be. :/

The following is from a Crucell PR:

In December 2008, Crucell announced this discovery and reported the results of preclinical studies involving a representative of this new mAb class, CR6261. The antibody was shown to neutralize a broad range of influenza viruses, including the currently circulating H1N1 seasonal flu strains (genetic descendants of the virus responsible for 40 million deaths during the pandemic of 1918â1919) and the highly pathogenic H5N1 (âbird fluâ) virus. More recent tests have shown that CR6261 also combats the novel H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic.

Since then J&J acquired Crucell. I don't know what clinical trial stage they are at, but probably further then these recent reports.

By Kevin Crawford (not verified) on 29 Jul 2011 #permalink

yup..almost as bad as nasa and arsenic hype...

Media reporting of science seems like it will tend to suck more than anything else. Particularly when it comes to the treatment of diseases and cures.

The journos want headlines such as "magical cure for disease X" or "half human population to be wiped out by disease Y by next Thursday". Mind you scientists can sometimes tailor their press release to what the journos want to increase the likelihood of column inches.

These news articles are a pretty typical result. I can't see any obvious way to solve it other than keep doing what you're doing to get accurate info out there.

@ Conor - Trouble is, even if we know the exact peptide sequence (which in itself would take forever), the antibodies YOU generate against that sequence will be different and random. No guarantee that it will be effective.

@ Kevin C.- That's a monoclonal antibody for use the way Conor mentioned in #2 - not a vaccine target.

I believe I understand the point being made: If the epitope that a universal antibody recognizes is used as a vaccine there is no expectation that everyone will elicit the universal antibody response; but presumably some will.

I was just making the point that pre-clinical studies with a universal flu antibody have been around since 2008.

Good luck with your TLRs research.

By Kevin Crawford (not verified) on 01 Aug 2011 #permalink