There has been new research into a flu vaccine that could potentially protect against all strains of the illness.

The experimental vaccine, developed by Scott Hensley (immunologist from the University of Pennsylvania) and his colleagues, relies on mRNA like the COVID vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The vaccine is in early stages and has only been tested on mice and ferrets, however it has given evidence that it could protect against an entire family of viruses. Should it be successful, it could lead the way in new vaccine research.

“There’s a real need for new influenza vaccines to provide protection against pandemic threats that are out there.

“If there’s a new influenza pandemic tomorrow, if we had a vaccine like this that was widely employed before that pandemic, we might not have to shut everything down,” Hensley said. There would still be necessity for annual vaccines but it would assist against future pandemic threats. The reason for this being, that the general influenza vaccines do not particularly protect against viruses.

It has long been a goal in the medical industry to develop a vaccine that could span all strains of influenza, but complexities and walls have limited the means for the study. The research has shown that every single animal tested on created substantial anti-bodies against all the 20 flu sub-types, the evidence came as a happy surprise.

Should this work the same way in humans “We’ll have a more broad coverage of influenza viruses — not only those that are circulating, but those that might spill over from the animal reservoir that might cause the next pandemic,” Alyson Kelvin, a vaccinologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said.

This positive outcome has driven the progression of the new vaccine forward and could even pave the way for vaccines of the future.

Source: Pharma News, December 2022

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