Did Researchers Just Take a Big Step Toward a Universal Flu Vaccine?

Jan 19, 2018

By Brandon Specktor

With more than a dozen different strains of influenza circulating the world at any given time, flu season is a bit like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.

That’s one reason why you need a flu shot every year. Different flu strains are constantly adapting different ways of evading your immune system’s defenses, and, so far, there is no single vaccine that can protect you from them all.

But scientists are making progress: A new vaccine candidate developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), might bring researchers one step closer to universal flu protection. Engineered from multiple strains of the influenza virus, all of which have vulnerabilities to a specific type of protein in the immune system, the vaccine successfully protected test animals from two different strains of the flu in the lab.

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