• Two separate US teams have found success with an approach that homes in on a stable part of the flu virus. That should remove the problem with current flu vaccines which must be given a new each year because they focus on the mutating part of the virus. The proof-of-concept work is published in Science journal and Nature Medicine.
  • Conventional flu vaccines target the “head” of a molecule called haemagglutinin (HA) that sits on the surface of flu viruses. But because the head of the HA mutates so rapidly, seasonal flu vaccines must be continually re-formulated to ensure they are effective. In the new studies, the researchers describe how they created novel flu vaccines that target the “stem” of the HA molecule instead of the head. The stem of the HA molecule is similar across different flu strains and mutates far less often.
  • Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, said: “This is an exciting development, but the new vaccines now need to be tested in clinical trials to see how well they work in humans. This will be the next stage of research, which will take several years. So we are still some way from having better flu vaccines for humans.”

Share This Article