NBC 7's Chris Chan speaks to SDSU professor Joy Phillips about new research in preventing illness and death from the flu. The virus research is possible with the help of mice.
Several San Diego State University researchers say they have found a way to prevent illness and death from the flu, in mice.
Nearly 40 thousand people in the U.S. die every year from Flu related illnesses, According to the Center for Disease Control and this discovery could be a first step in reducing those numbers.
Professor Joy Phillips, Ph.D. wanted to find out how a man-made protein, EP-67, would do in fighting the flu virus. So she and her team at the SDSU Bioscience Center gave the protein to infected mice.
“Significant protection from illness and we're quite frankly astonished at how well it worked,” Phillips said.
Phillips said that within two hours of treatment the protein kick started the rodents’ immune systems which in turn began attacking the virus.
Those infected with mild doses of the flu showed no signs of getting sick.
Others were given doses that should have killed them.
“All of the mice given EP67 survived,” Phillips said. “All of them.”
But what does this mean for the human population?
Scripps Health internist Michelle Abbo, M.D. said mouse models don't always translate to people.
Since the protein has never been used in humans, Abbo warns that there could be a severe allergic response or side effects.
However, she is excited at the prospect of saving the lives of people who die from the flu virus and helping the millions who suffer its effects each year.
It’s important to note that this new discovery is a long way from human trials.
It still has to be extensively tested before the public will have access to the treatment.