A Promising New Flu Shot Could Provide Lifelong Immunity Against the Virus

A Promising New Flu Shot Could Provide Lifelong Immunity Against the Virus

Even though only between five and 10 per cent of the population will get influenza this year and the immunization is only about 60 per cent effective in an average flu season, Northern Health representatives still think it's a good idea to get the shot.

The vaccines effectiveness in mice is an encouraging sign, but a lot more testing needs to be done before it could become commercially available.

"The ultimate goal is to be able to vaccinate once and provide lifelong protection", said lead study author Assistant Professor Eric Weaver from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"The excuses people use for not getting the flu shot are often based on incorrect medical information or myths, but working in our Merrill clinic for several years, I've seen the real-life health consequences that people suffer by not getting their yearly flu shot", he said.

The Pueblo City-County Public Health Department confirmed the first hospitalizations from the flu in Pueblo County Tuesday.

Vaccine producers have made flu shots with eggs for decades, but a new study says the manufacturing process curbed the efficacy of last year's shot and warns that the problem could repeat this year. You can have some side effects after vaccination, but this is not flu illness.

The seasonal flu shot contains weakened or dead versions of flu viruses. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, vaccines are updated annually to keep up with the changing viruses.

Mice protected by the unconventional vaccine survived exposure to lethal doses of seven of nine widely divergent influenza viruses. The shot stimulates immunity against a protein called hemagglutinin, which extends from the surface of the flu virus. That sugar makes its hard for our antibodies to attach to the virus and kill it, and protect the virus from destruction. It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to reach maximum protection.

"Our data suggest that we should invest in new technologies that allow us to ramp up production of influenza vaccines that are not reliant on eggs", Hensley said. "Current H3N2 viruses do not grow well in chicken eggs, and it is impossible to grow these viruses in eggs without adaptive mutations", Dr. Hensley explained.

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