Scientists have come up with the first flu vaccine that is supposed to protect people that are over 65 against flu. Until now, most vaccines were only effective in 30%-40% of over 65s. Older people have a weaker immune system that continues to get worse as years go by. Therefore, researchers have worked on a vaccine that will protect this age group as well. Now, the new flu vaccine has its first trial.
The study will analyze over 10,000 people
In order to see if the new vaccine is effective, researchers will test it on more than 10,000 that will be 65-year-old or older. If this vaccine really works, it can save numerous people, since this virus causes 250,000 to 500,000 annual deaths, and it affects almost a billion people worldwide a year.
The reason why this flu vaccine can be better than the others is that it uses a different mechanism. Until now vaccines had to change every year in order to adapt to the new viruses, and it was hard to predict how the “annual flu” will look like. But with the new vaccine, this won’t be necessary anymore since it does not use the proteins inside the flu cells, it uses the core proteins. Since these proteins don’t change, scientists are now able to come up with a treatment that will always work for any type of influenza.
Scientists also believe that the vaccine can do more than just prevent the flu. If you already have the virus, the new vaccine is supposed to make your illness shorter and less intense.
The study is delivered by the University of Oxford in Berkshire and Oxfordshire and sponsored by Vaccitech and managed by the University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences with support from the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands.