For many people today, getting an annual flu shot during the fall is part of their personal routine. Annual flu shots will not prevent everyone from getting influenza. However, they can help reduce the worst symptoms. Flu shots have also been shown to help reduce the duration of the disease and even decrease the possibility of death. Unlike many other vaccines that are only given a few times over the course of a person’s life, flu shots must be given once a year. However, for those who do not like needles or may not remember to get their shots, a new development is in the works. Researchers are hopeful this new vaccine can be of great help to people all over the globe. They are even hopeful it may even eliminate the need for yearly flu shots.
A Live Virus
Scientists are testing a new vaccine. This vaccine is one that may help the immune system do a better job at fighting off the flu each year. The new method that scientists are using, unlike the old method, uses a live virus. The only flu vaccine in present use use a killed virus to stimulate the immune system. Scientists have noted that the new vaccine has been highly effective in animals they used it on during standardized testing trials. Testing came about after the scientists spent time looking very closely at the virus in the lab. Their goal is to find specific parts of the virus that activate the immune system to respond to invaders. They ultimately want to find a strain of the virus that can breed quickly but also one that allows people’s bodies to respond to the virus and create an immune response that will keep it in check and prevent harm.
Longer Term Immunity
So far, tests have shown that the animals have responded well to this new vaccine. Scientist are hoping that such an immune response can be introduced in people as well as mice and ferrets. They are not certain how long the vaccine might offer protection against the flu. However, they are hopeful that the new vaccine may be able to help people avoid the need for their annual flu shot and still be protected as flu season continues. They are also hopeful that this new approach can be useful for the development of other kinds of vaccines currently under worldwide scientific development.