Universal flu vaccine designed to protect 88 percent known flu strains

London: An international team of scientists has designed a new generation of universal flu vaccines to protect against the future global pandemics that could potentially kill millions of people as this vaccine has the potential to give protection for up to 88 per cent of known flu strains worldwide in a single shot.

Pedro Reche of Complutense University, Madrid, Spain stated: “The components of this universal flu vaccine would be short flu virus fragments — called epitopes — that are already known to be recognised by the immune system. Our collaboration has found a way to select epitopes reaching full population coverage.”

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“Every year researchers choose a strain of flu as the vaccine, hoping that it will protect against next year’s strains.”

Derek Gatherer of Lancaster University in Britain said: “We know this method is safe, and that it works reasonably well most of the time.”

“However, sometimes it doesn’t work — as in the H3N2 (influenza A) vaccine failure in winter 2014-2015 — and even when it does it is immensely expensive and labour-intensive. Also, these yearly vaccines give us no protection at all against potential future pandemic flu,” Gatherer added.

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