Oxford University researchers have developed a universal flu vaccine using a potentially revolutionary approach. Traditional flu vaccines are designed to prompt an immune system response to proteins found on the outer shell of the virus. These proteins are prone to mutation, which means vaccines already on the market must be reformulated each year. This new vaccine, on the other hand, works by revealing the proteins inside the virus cell. This makes strains appear more consistent to the immune cell, which then learn to identify and destroy cells containing the virus proteins.
"With having to make new vaccine every year there's never enough to go around," study leader Dr. Sarah Gilbert told the BBC. "With this vaccine, we could end up having pretty much everyone vaccinated--a situation more like measles where you don't really see it anymore."
The team is set to begin testing the vaccine on a group of 12 people, but five to ten more years of research and trials lay ahead, according to Gilbert.
- check out the BBC article for more