Researchers 'a step closer' to universal flu vaccine "Universal flu vaccine comes closer, scientists say," BBC News reports after two independent teams of researchers each found ways to target multiple strains of the influenza virus – but, as yet, the research has only involved animals.
Because there are many different strains of flu and they constantly change, people need to be vaccinated with a different flu vaccine every flu season. Scientists would like to be able to develop a universal flu vaccine that would be active against all strains of the virus.
The studies developed two different vaccines. Both vaccines were able to protect mice against what would usually be a lethal dose of flu, and one vaccine reduced fever symptoms in monkeys. Both vaccines were based on the principle of attacking specific sites on the virus that are less likely to mutate as new strains come along.
This analysis focuses on the second study, which advanced as far as testing on monkeys, as these results are more likely to apply to humans.
We can't yet be certain that the vaccines will be effective or safe until they are tested on humans, and more animal and lab research will be needed before this can be started. NHS Choices