According to a leading scientist, a universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains of the virus could be available in the next two years.
Current flu vaccines, which are updated seasonally, can only protect against up to four strains of the virus. The new vaccine, which was developed at the University of Pennsylvania, is designed to prime the immune system against all 20 subtypes of influenza A and B, potentially (and hopefully) preparing the body to tackle any flu virus that arises. The two-dose vaccine uses the same messenger RNA (mRNA) technology which was used in some COVID vaccines.
Dr. Scott Hensley, a researcher on the team in Pennsylvania, notes that giving people a “baseline” level of immunity against the full range of flu strains could lead to far less illness and fewer deaths when the next flu pandemic happens.
It’s important to keep in mind that clinical trials on humans are still needed, to determine safety and efficacy — as the current results, though promising, are from animal tests.