Mindful of the ongoing threat of a potentially deadly avian influenza outbreak, researchers are striving to find ways to protect individuals before a pandemic occurs. While such a feat has proven difficult for a variety of reasons, some scientists are encouraged by a recent study demonstrating that mice immunized with a vaccine against the 1918 influenza virus—the pathogen that killed 50 million or more individuals worldwide—were protected against a lethal challenge with a reconstructed version of the virus (Kong WP et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi:10.1073/pnas.0607564103 [published online October 16, 2006]).
Hampton T. 1918 Flu Vaccine Effective in Mice. JAMA. 2006;296(20):2428. doi:10.1001/jama.296.20.2428