In order to predict the flu viruses that will be the most prevalent in the upcoming year, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. Scientists collaborate to study strains all over the world in an effort to predict which strains will pose the biggest threats during the next flu season. Researchers work on new vaccines and drugs to stop the flu virus, but they don’t always work. Even when they do, there’s always the fear that a new strain of drug-resistant flu could evolve. But now, researchers are trying a different approach.
Instead of working on a new drug to combat the virus, researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital are coming at the problem from a new direction. They’re focusing on the main reason behind flu-related fatalities: blood vessels in the lungs leak fluid into air sacs, causing respiratory failure.
Researchers worked with mice in the laboratory to try to develop a drug that will prevent those blood vessels from leaking. Results were pretty amazing: after treatment with this drug, Vasculotide, over 80% of the mice survived, but all of the untreated mice died. Scientists are optimistic about this drug, because it worked against several different strains of the flu, and was successful in treating two different strains of mice. While mice aren’t humans, it was noted that since the mechanism of blood vessels leaking into lungs is common throughout different animals, the hope is that Vasculotide will be effective in other animals- including humans.
Read more about this research here.