One and Done: Why You’ll Never Have to Get Another Flu Vaccine

7. 21. 15 by Andrew Tieu
  • Scientists create different vaccines every year because viruses are constantly evolving. Each year, they predict which viruses will be prominent and create vaccines to combat those specific viruses. If the vaccine and the virus have even minimal differences, the vaccine will not offer much protection.
  • In a new study, scientists are taking an approach that disregards the process of matching a vaccine with a virus altogether. Instead, they create a vaccine “cocktail” that consists of different subtypes of a key protein from the influenza virus, hypothesizing that this would stimulate the development of immunity against other subtypes.
  • Of sixteen possible protein subtypes, test mice were vaccinated against four of them and then exposed to eight different influenza strains, many of which they were not directly protected against. However, 95% of the mice were protected against the viruses, compared to only 5% for a group of mice with a mock vaccination. The new vaccine, which remains effective for at least six months, has enormous potential to offer broad and effective protection.

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