Universal flu vaccine for life

Flu viruses are highly changeable so elderly people and pregnant women, who are particularly vulnerable to the illness, are currently given new vaccinations each year to ensure they are protected.

But, the scientists say that the new flu vaccine, Flu-v vaccine, which needs to be administered only once, has been found to be effective against a number of different types of influenza virus, including the avian flu and pandemic swine flu strains in a clinical trial. They are now planning to conduct a large-scale clinical trial and hope to have a vaccine available for widespread use in three to five years’ time.

“This vaccine clearly has a biological effect worthy of further investigation, particularly with respect to the broadness of the response. In the 2009 swine flu pandemic it was several months before a vaccine was available. “A universal vaccine could end that wait and also reduce the need for people to have vaccines each year against seasonal flu,” Prof John Oxford, a virologist at St Barts and Royal London Hospital and scientific director of Retroscreen Virology, who conducted the clinical trial, said.

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