Last week, researchers at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City ” along with others at Emory University in Atlanta ” cured the flu.
But wait: You can’t cure the flu. Antibiotics don’t work. There’s no medicine that can kill the flu. You just gotta take acetaminophen and sweat it out ” if you missed getting your vaccination. Nope, there is no cure for the flu.
Well, that’s not true anymore. It happened in a test tube, and maybe soon, it will happen in people. Dr. Patrick Wilson used cloned human antibody cells to destroy the flu virus. Wilson and the other researchers grew what are called monoclonal antibodies in the lab. Wilson said they can grow as much as they want.
The discovery was announced in the current issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature. Wilson ” along with Judith James at OMRF, Rafi Ahmed of Emory University and other researchers ” cloned human antibodies that kill the flu virus.
THE NEXT STEP
What’s next? Well, you probably guessed it. Now this goes to the Food and Drug Administration and the big pharmaceutical companies. And now comes the part where everyone rolls his or her eyes: See you in 10 years, right?
Not necessarily, Wilson said. For one, previous drug discoveries always used animals first to test the drugs, then eventually the test would come to people. Then maybe, just maybe, we would see a new drug years later. In this new process, Wilson said, the animal is taken out of the loop.
“If you think of where these antibodies come from, these are proteins from healthy, normal people who have been vaccinated,” he said. “The vaccine doesn’t make them sick. They are just fine. They already have these antibodies in their system. They have already started, and they are the first donor of a clinical trial. They are there ” we already tested them once.”
So “¦ when can we begin eradicating human infections? Well, maybe soon, Wilson said.
“We are generating the antibodies and we have some good commercial partners who can develop them so they can be tested in organized clinical trials,” Wilson said. “It’s highly likely that this approach will be used to make therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. I can’t tell you what the time frame will be. But I can tell you it’s almost guaranteed this will lead to improvements in therapy.” “Ben Fenwick