Agriculture
Getting the dirt on carbon
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Newts
Salamanders and Newts
Animals
Hearing Whales
Revenge of the Cowbirds
Young Ants in the Kitchen
Behavior
Calculating crime
The Science Fair Circuit
Fear Matters
Birds
Finches
Hummingbirds
Birds We Eat
Chemistry and Materials
Putting the Squeeze on Toothpaste
Moon Crash, Splash
Bang, Sparkle, Burst, and Boom
Computers
It's a Small E-mail World After All
The science of disappearing
Galaxies far, far, far away
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Hall of Dinos
Mini T. rex
Meet your mysterious relative
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Shrinking Glaciers
Earth's Poles in Peril
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Environment
Inspired by Nature
A Newspaper's Hidden Cost
Swimming with Sharks and Stingrays
Finding the Past
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Ancient Cave Behavior
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Fish
Seahorses
Flounder
Megamouth Sharks
Food and Nutrition
The Essence of Celery
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
Chew for Health
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Problems with Prepositions
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
It's a Math World for Animals
Detecting True Art
Human Body
Hear, Hear
What the appendix is good for
The tell-tale bacteria
Invertebrates
Sponges
Lice
Mussels
Mammals
Pekingese
Wildcats
Pomeranians
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
The Particle Zoo
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Einstein's Skateboard
Plants
Bright Blooms That Glow
A Change in Leaf Color
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Reptiles
Box Turtles
Rattlesnakes
Garter Snakes
Space and Astronomy
A Family in Space
Sun Flips Out to Flip-Flop
Burst Busters
Technology and Engineering
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
Smart Windows
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
Pronouns
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Middle school science adventures
Ready, unplug, drive
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
Earth's Poles in Peril
Recipe for a Hurricane
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Add your Article

A Better Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot hurts, but getting the flu is even worse. Every winter, sore throats, fevers, and other flu symptoms keep lots of kids home from school. And unfortunately, the shot, which is supposed to prevent people from getting the flu, doesn't always work as well as doctors would like. Now, researches have found a new, quicker way to

Getting a flu shot hurts, but getting the flu is even worse. Every winter, sore throats, fevers, and other flu symptoms keep lots of kids home from school. And unfortunately, the shot, which is supposed to prevent people from getting the flu, doesn’t always work as well as doctors would like.

In a study during the 2004–2005 flu season, 151 people were given a high dose of a caterpillar-assisted vaccine. None came down with the flu. Just 2 of 150 people who got a low dose of the new vaccine got sick. In comparison, 7 of 153 people given a fake vaccine developed the flu.

“This is the first time this … vaccine has been shown to protect people against the flu,” says John J. Treanor of the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center, who led the study.

The flu, also called influenza, is caused by a virus that mutates over time. So, every summer, scientists try to guess which strains of the virus are going to spread around the globe the next winter. They then develop a vaccine to fight those strains.

The old vaccine contains a small amount of the influenza virus. Given the right dose, our bodies learn how to fight the virus without actually getting sick.

For years, vaccine makers have grown the old flu vaccine inside of chicken eggs. Doing this, however, takes 6 months. That’s too long to make changes during years when the vaccine isn’t working as well as it should.

That’s why some researchers think that caterpillar cells might make better flu-vaccine factories than chicken eggs. In the study, researchers at Protein Sciences Corporation grew caterpillar cells in the lab. Then, they infected the cells with a type of insect virus called a baculovirus.

Normally, baculovirus produces a specific baculovirus protein. The researchers altered the virus, however, so that it churned out an influenza protein instead. When injected into people, this protein caused their immune systems to build up defenses against the flu.

Each strain of influenza makes a slightly different version of the influenza protein. Using caterpillar cells as factories instead of chicken eggs, scientists could make quicker changes if they realized that the vaccine they were currently making would not be effective against the coming flu season’s strain.

The new technique would take 2 months instead of 6 to produce flu vaccines, the researchers say. That speed could save lives. About 36,000 people die of the flu in the United States each year. Another 226,000 end up in the hospital because of it.

But before caterpillar cells can become a front-line weapon against the flu, scientists have some more work to do.

“Overall, I’d say it’s encouraging,” says Gary Nabel, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. But “is it ready to swoop in tomorrow and replace conventional vaccines? No.”—E. Sohn

 

A Better Flu Shot
A Better Flu Shot








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™