Dr Santiago Fernández González, a scientist supported by an EU Marie Curie research grant, has revealed, for the first time in detail, how the immune system reacts to flu vaccinations, a discovery which may save thousands of lives and millions of euros every year.
In his project, INIMIN, the researcher has studied what exactly happens in immune cells once the influenza virus is injected.
By using pioneering imaging techniques, Dr González was able to track the cells that 'escort' the virus to the lymph node, where the antibodies are produced to fight the flu.
This discovery paves the way for more powerful vaccines to help vulnerable groups, such as children or elderly people, cope with influenza.
Factsheet by the European Commission / 11 December 2012