If successful in humans, vaccine could eliminate annual flu shot
Globally, the influenza virus, or flu, is thought to cause between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization. New strains of the virus emerge each year, so that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other public health services must produce and distribute a new vaccine against the new flu strains each year. And each year, people seeking to avoid a flu infection must arrange to receive a flu shot - rarely a pleasant experience - from their doctor or other health-care provider. Also, the effectiveness of the vaccine is known to decline in the elderly, a population for whom flu infections can be particularly dangerous.
A new prototype vaccine developed by researchers at The Wistar Institute, however, might be able to protect recipients not only against this years strains of the virus, but also against those yet to come, possibly eliminating the need for an annual shot. In fact, because the vaccine would be administered as a nasal spray, it could eliminate the need for a shot of any kind. A report on the new findings appears in the June 2 issue of the journal Vaccine.
Franklin Hoke | EurekAlert!
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