The medical research community has set its sights on developing a revolutionary type of flu vaccine called a universal influenza vaccine. The results from the experiments in animals and the early phase clinical trials in humans indicate high feasibility of its use for broad protection against multiple types of flu.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, approximately 500,000 people worldwide and 26,000 people in the United States die from the flu and its complications each year. This could be caused by a problem that it takes at least 6 months to produce an influenza vaccine once the targets have been identified. Clearly, the current technologies to produce flu vaccines have to be improved for a better level of protection.
The traditional flu vaccines target one of the proteins on the surface of the virus that changes its form unpredictably to be vaccine-resistant. In contrast, the universal influenza vaccines target more stable protein in the stem that rarely varies from virus to virus. This new vaccine could protect against both seasonal and potential pandemic flu viruses such as H7N9 bird flu infections in humans occurring in China, and provide long-lasting protection by only one time injection like the measles vaccine.
Looking for more information about H7N9? Read our info page: H7N9: What You Need To Know.
The universal flu vaccine could modernize our prevention strategy with lower health care costs and better ability of protection from various flu viruses, however, much work needs to be done before these goals are reached. Currently, getting vaccines each year is still the best way to protect yourself against the seasonal flu.
In recent months, BioNews Texas has profiled the significant role that the state of Texas will play going forward in the strategic mass-production of influenza vaccines for the U.S. in the event of a major flu outbreak, thanks to the nationally-funded effort between Texas A&M and GSK, who will parter to run a cutting-edge vaccine production facility in College Station. It remains to be seen what role Texas will play in the development of a universal influenza vaccine, but seeing as the biotech sector here is continuing to establish itself as a leader in vaccine technologies, it stands to reason that Texas will continue to make breakthroughs in flu vaccines and treatment going forward.
Vaccine Jobs In Texas:
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Photo from http://www.futurity.org.