A universal flu vaccination might prevent a pandemic in the future.

Researchers claim to have made progress in developing a vaccine that will protect against all 20 forms of influenza.

The effective Covid vaccines employ the same messenger-ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology.

The current yearly flu shot is updated to provide the greatest match for the strain that is currently circulating, but it is likely that it will not protect against emerging pandemic varieties.

In testing on ferrets and mice, the novel vaccination produced significant levels of antibodies that might combat a variety of diseases.

The antigens it contains can educate the immune system on how to fight them and, ideally, any new strain that could cause a pandemic, the researchers write in the journal Science. These antigens are safe copies of identifiable pieces from all 20 known subtypes of influenza A and B viruses.

According to Dr. Scott Hensley of the University of Pennsylvania, who is one of the experts working on the project, the goal of the research is to come up with a vaccination that will give people a baseline level of immunity against different flu strains.

When the next flu pandemic strikes, there will be far fewer illnesses and fatalities.

“Highly promising”
The 2009 swine flu pandemic, which was brought on by a virus that infected humans after jumping species, was not as bad as first thought.

However, it’s estimated that the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic killed tens of millions of people.

Adolfo Garca-Sastre, director of the Mount Sinai Hospital’s Institute for Global Health and Emerging Pathogens, stated: “Present influenza vaccinations do not protect against influenza viruses with pandemic potential.

If this vaccination is successful in people, it will do this.

Preclinical research is being done in experimental models.

“They are highly encouraging, but we cannot be sure until clinical trials in volunteers are completed,” the author says, “even though they imply a protective potential against all subtypes of influenza viruses.”

“All of this suggests the potential for an easily and quickly developed universal vaccine that may be of enormous assistance in the case of a pandemic breakout of a new influenza virus,” said Estanislao Nistal, a virologist at San Pablo University.

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