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The year is 2009. The most common subtype of human influenza, H1N1, is causing flu outbreaks around the world. In Europe, a concerted H1N1 vaccination campaign is almost complete. Strangely, children who are given GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine are at an increased risk of developing narcolepsy, while children given Novartis’s Focetria are fine.

Why did these similar vaccination programs have two different outcomes? Stanford neurologist and immunologist Lawrence Steinman, rheumatologist Sohail Ahmed, formerly of Novartis Vaccines in Italy, and their colleagues decided to find out. They identified an influenza peptide that resembles a brain receptor peptide and they found it in higher abundance in the Pandemrix formulation than in Focetria.
Read the full article at The Scientist magazine

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