From: University of Rochester Medical Center
Published November 3, 2017 11:13 AM

In Pursuit of a Universal Flu Vaccine

Flu shot season is here. But as you head to the doctor’s office or pharmacy to get vaccinated, scientists are working to make this yearly ritual a thing of the past. Researchers around the world, including at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), are pursuing a “universal” flu vaccine, one that would protect against most or all seasonal and pandemic strains of the flu virus.

This is no easy task, and a study out today in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that one of the most promising strategies – creating a vaccine that targets the “stalk” of a protein that covers the flu virus – is a strong one, but isn’t completely bulletproof. 

The hemagglutinin protein, which blankets the outside of the flu virus, looks a bit like a flower; it has a stalk (think stem) and a head (think petals). Current vaccines target the head, which is the part of the virus that’s always changing in an effort to evade our immune defenses. The head sits on the stalk, and it’s believed that the stalk stays relatively constant from one strain of flu to another. Directing a vaccine and the body’s immune response towards the stalk is a seemingly logical strategy for creating a shot that would provide broad protection. 

Read more at University of Rochester Medical Center

Image: Developing a universal flu vaccine that would protect against all seasonal and pandemic strains of the virus is no easy task, and new research suggests that one of the most promising strategies -- creating a vaccine that targets the "stalk" of a protein that covers the flu virus -- is a strong one, but isn't completely bulletproof. Researchers found that the stalk of the hemagglutinin protein can vary in response to pressure from the immune system. (Credit: University of Rochester Medical Center)

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2017©. Copyright Environmental News Network