The results showed that the flu vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that switch on certain processes in cells. These processes lead to the production of molecules that protect the heart. The researchers mentioned that based on the results it might be possible to develop a new vaccine against heart disease.
The researchers identified a protein called the bradykinin 2 receptor (BKB2R), which has been involved in cellular processes that protect the heart. Some of the antibodies the body produces after flu vaccination switch this protein on, therefore protecting against heart disease. The researchers analyzed 14 flu viruses used in vaccines, and identified four that could be investigated for use in potential heart disease vaccines.
Dr. Veljkovic, Institute Vinca, Belgrade, said that the rate of administering flu vaccinations was disappointingly low, even in developed countries, so they hope that their results would encourage more people to get vaccinated before the flu season starts.
The study is published in Vaccine.