Every year, doctors and patients alike must prepare for the influenza virus by getting the appropriate flu vaccination. As the influenza virus develops and takes a new shape every year, flu vaccines must adapt to the constant change. Even then, people still risk getting sick with the influenza virus or H1N1.
But what if there were a vaccination that could help fight any and all flus? It’s not science fiction, it’s a possible medical breakthrough.
According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific trials performed on lab mice and ferrets using vaccine made from DNA encoding the influenza virus hemagglutinin surface protein and a booster dose of the 2006-2007 seasonal influenza vaccine containing the hemagglutinin flu protein–otherwise known as a “prime-boost” vaccine–produced a positive immune response in 80% of the test subjects.
In short, the two-step immunization process helped protect and fight off a wide variety of influenza strains.
Flu vaccines do not currently protect against such a broad range of influenza virus strains. Because of this, influenza vaccines must be re-formulated every year to protect against the most predominant virus strain.
While still in a trial stage only, this new finding could dramatically increase the life expectancy of every American.
Dr. Gary Nabel, lead researcher of the new “super vaccine,” said clinical testing on humans could be a progressive step in as little as three to five years.
Collaborators on these studies included Terrence Tumpey, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With an estimated 36,000 deaths yearly in America due to the influenza virus, the possibility of a universal flu vaccination could become the biggest medical breakthrough this century.
For more information on the possible universal flu vaccination, visit the National Institutes of Health.