24
Sat, Feb

How Well Will The Flu Vaccine Work This Winter?

Typography

The most effective way of preventing seasonal influenza is to be vaccinated each autumn. The reason that people are encouraged to get vaccinated annually is because flu virus can cause severe disease. One of the problems is that there are many different flu viruses circulating around the world and which ones circulate changes over time.

The most effective way of preventing seasonal influenza is to be vaccinated each autumn. The reason that people are encouraged to get vaccinated annually is because flu virus can cause severe disease. One of the problems is that there are many different flu viruses circulating around the world and which ones circulate changes over time.

Each year, pharmaceutical companies produce vaccines against the flu viruses predicted to be dominant during the upcoming flu season. How well the vaccine works varies from year to year because of how much the circulating flu viruses evolve between the time that the vaccine is produced and the beginning of flu season. For this reason, in most years, the flu vaccine is 50 to 70 percent effective.

During the Australian 2017 flu season, the flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective because of the emergence of variant H3N2 that was “vaccine resistant.”

Scientists from UTMB and Biomed Protection have published this prediction almost two years in advance demonstrating that the prediction of flu vaccine efficacy may be possible. In their study, they predicted which H3N2 variants would become “vaccine resistant”, and this prediction has been now confirmed during the 2017 Australian flu season.

Read more at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Photo credit: Whoisjohngalt via Wikimedia Commons