The regular flu shot can protect against the bird flu.

  Researchers say that the yearly influenza vaccine might offer some cross protection against the avian flu.

  The avian flu is sometimes called H5N1...referring to 2 protein subtypes on the surface of the virus, hemagluttinin and neuraminidase. The yearly influenza shot works by inducing antibodies to similar proteins on the normal influenza virus.

  Animal studies suggest that the regular flu shot triggers some immunity against H5N1. When antibodies produce in response to the N1 component of the vaccine, this MIGHT offer protection against the same protein in the avian virus. In fact, some humans already have antibodies directed against this part of the avian virus.

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