Flu vaccines in the United States are designed to target a small number of viral strains. These, targeted viral strains are based on the public health predictions. Scientists are hoping that in the near future a universal vaccine will be developed. It will be effective against all viral strains. Now, they are a bit closer to this discovery.
A recent study, found that chemical modifications to one area in antibodies can be used in developing better vaccines. Jeffrey Ravetch, from the Rockefeller University, New York, said that these are important information. This discovery may be responsible for the new universal flu vaccine.
Currently, vaccines used in the United States target, H1 and H3 influenza A viruses. They also target influenza B strains that are predicted by the experts, in order to prevent them during the flu season. However, these vaccines are not very effective. For example, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) announced that in this year, flu vaccines were only 23% effective.
Current flu vaccine targets 3 specific strains. Simply said, this isn’t enough. Influenza is a dangerous disease. It can attack every person in the world. It is even more dangerous in people older than 65 years and with other health issues. According to the American Lung Association, 90% of deaths, caused by the influenza is in people older than 65 years.
People who participated in a recent study, were given a flu vaccine containing an inactive H1N1 strain. Researchers monitored their immune system reaction. At the end, they found that the vaccine had a positive effect. It activated B cells and made them producing the antibodies of the highest affinity.