As flu season approaches, vaccine talk ramps up. Every year scientists take a wild guess at which strains of flu are likely to be most active and they develop a vaccine against them. There are mass campaigns for everyone, but especially the elderly and young among us, to get vaccinated. On a good year, they push for wide-spread use, on a bad year – if there’s a scare, or a particularly deadly strain moving around – those adults in between may never see a vaccine.
Every year this is a massive, extensive, and expensive production. But what if we had one vaccine that worked against all types of flu? At least 3 companies around the world are working on exactly that. One US company has already proceeded to trials, with promising results:
Trials on healthy adults in the U.S. showed the jab is safe, causing no side effects other than the occasional red arm and high temperature associated with all vaccines.
The trials found that after two doses a month apart, it worked fast to prime the immune system to produce antibodies capable of attacking the virus in up to 90 per cent of those tested.
How convenient, and reassuring, to think that a 2 shot set, with boosters every 5 to 10 years, could protect us. No more waiting in long lines every year to get jabbed. No more groaning at the person in the desk next to you who came into work anyway, despite looking like they could fall out of their chair any moment. This is an important step to improve yearly flu death and illness rates but also to combat the forecasted reprise of the global flu pandemic from the early 1900s.
Happy Flu Season!