groups of American researchers recently announced progress in
their efforts to create a single flu vaccine. The goal is to
find a universal vaccine that will offer broader coverage
against all types of influenza each season. It's possible such
a vaccine would even provide long-term protection, preparing
our immune systems to fight off the flu for many seasons.
challenge in developing such a vaccine has been the flu virus'
ability to mutate quickly. Even slight changes to a virus may
interfere with our body's ability to control it before it
makes us sick. This newly reported single vaccine research
focuses on a protein called hemagglutinin, which all influenza
virus strains have in common.
a lot of research going on looking at some of these other
options, in terms of our target for the influenza
vaccine," says Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist
Dr. Pritish Tosh. Dr. Tosh, who is also a member of the
Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic, says the new avenues of
investigation are definitely needed. However, he cautions, the
single flu vaccine has only been tested in animals and is not
yet available. So he urges everyone to get immunized with the
safe and proven vaccines that we already have.
is real killer. It kills tens of thousands of Americans each
year, either directly or through its complications. And we
really only have one great way in terms of prevention and that
is with [the current] influenza vaccine."———