Influenza vaccine that outsmarts flu mutations!
Seasonal influenza is responsible for over 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths in the United States each year. Unfortunately, the yearly flu shot isn’t always as effective as scientists would like, because the flu can mutate quickly.
But researchers may have found a way to create a ‘universal flu shot’! They created a vaccine that targets a specific protein on the influenza virus called hemagglutinin (HA). HA is found on every known subtype of influenza- even bird flu. The best part about targeting HA is that any mutations are unlikely to be passed on, so the vaccine should actually work on MORE flu strains for a longer period of time!
So far, laboratory studies in mice and primates have been promising. Let’s hope that this vaccine proves to be successful in humans. Wouldn’t it be great to have protection from the flu without having to get a new flu shot each year? Read more about it here.