This vaccine capable of combating all strains could, if the tests are all validated, be available on the market in 2024.
Researchers at the American University of Pennsylvania are developing a vaccine that targets all 20 known strains of the flu virus at the same time. How ? With the messenger RNA technique, which has proven itself against Covid and which therefore promises applications to other diseases such as AIDS, or cancer in general.
The limits of current vaccines
While the flu is responsible for an estimated death toll of 650,000 people each year across the world, “Seasonal influenza vaccines offer little protection against pandemic influenza virus strains”explain the researchers.
And they add, in defense of current solutions: “it is difficult to create effective pre-pandemic vaccines because it is not known which influenza virus subtype will cause the next pandemic”.
Here, the vaccine being developed is able to prepare the immune systems against 20 subtypes of influenza A and B variants and thus protect the body against any influenza virus.
During their work, the scientists injected mice with an experimental product against 20 strains, and the rodents developed antibodies against all the strains, a stable and satisfactory result for four months. Same conclusion with ferrets.
Reduce the number of severe cases
As with the Covid vaccine, this would not be to offer protection against any strain that may emerge in the future; but to give basic immunity to all elderly or frail people. Again, the goal would be to reduce the occurrence of serious cases, and therefore hospitalizations.
The work should soon enter the stage of phase I clinical trials on humans, to evaluate its potential side effects on a small group of patients.