Getting vaccinated for influenza is no guarantee that you’ll be protected from all strains of the notorious virus, but there are high hopes that the situation will be different in the near future. A new mRNA vaccine is now under the spotlight, as it has proven to be very effective on animals in protecting them against all known flu viruses.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania developed the new vaccine, and a single shot was enough to grant protection from the flu in the case of animals. The vaccine uses antigens for 20 flu viruses.
A report from CBC News brings details about the vaccine in question:
If the vaccine is confirmed to be effective for humans as well, scientists have made a significant step toward developing a universal flu vaccine. A future flu pandemic could be prevented due to the new mRNA vaccine.
Hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations because of the flu in the US
In the US alone, the numbers representing those who become ill, get hospitalized, or die from the flu are indeed terrifying. According to the estimations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year between 2010 and 2020, a number of 9 million to 41 million illnesses, 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 52,000 deaths occurred, all because of infection with influenza. In other words, dying from the flu is a reality that nobody should ignore.
As for the new study regarding the promising mRNA vaccine, here’s what Albert Osterhaus from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover has to say, as NewScientist quotes:
For generating a basic immunity against epidemic or pandemic influenza virus strains in the future, this strategy could offer an option if longevity [of immunity] in humans is confirmed,
Definitely these animal data are promising and merit further exploration in clinical studies. Given previous studies with candidate universal flu vaccines in human trials, it is hard to predict what the clinical data will bring.
A person can spread the flu to another even while lacking any specific symptoms.