Published: Wed, November 08, 2017
Medical | By Alyssa Little

A Promising New Flu Shot Could Provide Lifelong Immunity Against the Virus

A Promising New Flu Shot Could Provide Lifelong Immunity Against the Virus

A vaccine combining centralized ancestral genes from four major influenza strains appears to provide broad protection against the risky ailment, according to new research by a team from the Nebraska Center for Virology.

Public Health England said research had begun to find a non-egg method of production.

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"An ideal influenza vaccine would be low-cost, provide long-lasting immunity, require few immunizations and would work against all variants of the virus", Weaver said.

The health department stresses it's important to get vaccinated soon, before the worst part of the flu season arrives.

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Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for young children, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. The fluid in the eggs is then removed and purified to get enough of the virus strain to make the vaccine. "We can protect ourselves and also our family, friends and the community", said family nurse practitioner Sarah Fincham, assistant clinical professor at Washington State University's college of nursing in Spokane. "During the 2014-2015 influenza season, clade 3C.2a H3N2 viruses possessing a new predicted glycosylation site in antigenic site B of HA emerged, and these viruses remain prevalent today", wrote the article's authors. The vaccine 2016 had been "updated" to include the new version of this mutant protein but without much success, he says. However, antibodies elicited in ferrets infected with the current circulating H3N2 viral strain (that contains the new protein) and humans vaccinated with a H3N2 vaccine produced in a non-egg system were able to effectively recognize and neutralize the new H3N2 virus. The shot stimulates immunity against a protein called hemagglutinin, which extends from the surface of the flu virus.

"To put this in other terms, our current influenza vaccine programs and technologies reduce influenza infections and hospitalizations by 4.75 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively", Weaver said. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to become protected. Gold, Scott Hensley and his team have found that the mutant protein of the H3N2 viruses grew poorly in crops grown in eggs.

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