Prior to this study, EP67 had been primarily used as an adjuvant for vaccines, something added to the vaccine to help activate the immune response. But Joy Phillips, Ph.D. a lead author of the study with her colleague Sam Sanderson, Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, saw potential for it to work on its own.
"The flu virus is very sneaky and actively keeps the immune system from detecting it for a few days until you are getting symptoms," Phillips said. "Our research showed that by introducing EP67 into the body within 24 hours of exposure to the flu virus caused the immune system to react almost immediately to the threat, well before your body normally would."
Because EP67 doesn't work on the virus but on the immune system itself, it functions the same no matter the flu strain, unlike the influenza vaccine which has to exactly match the currently circulating strain.