A new spray that helps boost the immune system can fight off flu in just two hours - even before symptoms have developed, according to scientists.
The drug, delivered by a nasal spray, contains a synthetic protein that triggers the immune system to fight the flu before the body normally would.
Once a person is exposed to the flu, current treatments are designed to target the current circulating strain exactly, but the virus can sometimes develop a resistance against them.
This new treatment doesn't need to match the virus exactly and gets the immune system to react almost immediately to the threat before the body normally would.
Flu is potentially fatal to people with a low immune system as they struggle to shake off the infection and can also be lethal to the elderly.
Researchers at San Diego State University in America focused the study on the protein EP67, which has previously been used as something added to a vaccine to help activate the immune response, but they wanted to see if it would work on its own.
They tested EP67 on mice by infecting them with a flu virus - finding those given a dose within 24 hours did not get sick, or as sick, as those not treated with the protein.
The level of illness in mice is measured by weight loss - typically mice lose about 20 per cent of their weight when infected with the flu, but those treated with EP67 lost an average of six per cent.
The researchers also found mice who were treated a day after being infected with a lethal dose of influenza did not die.
EP67 is active in animals, including birds, so the finding could also have huge implications for veterinary applications.
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