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Flu Shot May Protect Against Bird Flu Too

We've written about how working out at the gym before you get your flu shot will make it work better. Now we've learned that your annual flu shot may protect you against bird flu as well.

The yearly flu vaccine that health officials urge people to get each fall might also offer certain individuals some cross protection against the H5N1 (bird flu) virus, commonly known as bird flu as well. Investigators found that a protein present in the annual influenza shot can act as a vaccine itself and trigger some cross protection against H5N1 in mice; and that some human volunteers already had antibodies directed against the same part of this virus.

Infectious Disease expert Richard J. Webby says, "The jury is still out on whether the seasonal flu vaccine is definitely a reliable way to offer people some protection from H5N1, but our initial results suggest that this is a research trail worth following."

Since researchers have not yet been able to develop a vaccine specifically for bird flu, this may offer some protection in countries where bird flu poses a threat to people who come into contact with infected birds and poultry.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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