Scientists on Brink of Universal Flu Shot
Flu shots protect against many, but not all, flu strains. Each year, flu specialists make an educated guess at which flu strains will be prevalent during seasonal outbreaks. Scientists create vaccines based on this flu strain research. Because the flu strains can mutate over time, it’s not easy to predict the strains correctly.
Efforts are being made to create a universal flu vaccine that safeguards against all strains of flu viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research have identified a man-made antibody that recognizes conventional flu viruses, the 1918 virus, and bird flu viruses and neutralizes their ability to infect cells. Two benefits of this discovery are:
- Potentially, it may be injected to help boost antibodies in recently flu-infected people.
- As a vaccine, it may help train the body to recognize and attack all flu viruses.