A Universal Flu Vaccine Could Be Just Five Years Away


Getting the flu is no fun and while it can certainly take one out of commission for a few days, in countries without proper medicine it can be life threatening. A new vaccine though may help kill the flu bug worldwide once and for all.
Researchers at the Imperial College London hope to put an end to flu outbreaks with a blueprint for a new vaccine that will combat any new flu strains that raise up their ugly heads.

To understand how this new flue combative will work it’s necessarily to first understand what the flu is. On the surface a flu virus is made up of constantly changing proteins which can make finding a universal vaccine tricky. Researchers believe though that all flu strains have similar traits and this could hold the answer to creating a universal vaccine.

In order to come to this new “flu blueprint” researchers began experimenting with a 2009 strain of the swine flu and studied the correlation of T-cells found in a sick patient (T-cells recognize what proteins make up a virus’ core). Research unveiled that the more T-cells a person had the less sick they became from the flu virus, thus developing a T-cell vaccine versus an antibody-based one, could produce more potent flu vaccinations than before.

Don’t expect to see this new T-cell flu vaccine in your local CVS anytime soon. According to the study’s lead Professor Ajit Lalvani, T-cell response has not been fully developed enough and a new vaccine is still about five years away. So for now, your best defense is still stocking up on hand sanitizer and vitamin C packets.


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