Universal Flu Shot

immunizationIs it possible, in the nearby future, to have a flu vaccination that could protect against multiple strains of the virus? Researchers at the Imperial College London have found that no matter what form of the virus is affecting you, specific T-cells protect people from the flu. They are suggesting that by targeting the core issue, there wouldn’t need to be multiple shots for multiple strains of the flu.

Scientist already know how to stimulate the immune system to make CD8 T cells by vaccination and they have noticed that these T cells may very well protect humans from various, even all strains of the virus. They have noticed a trend that during the swine flu outbreak in 2009, patients with more CD8 T cells were less sick with swine than compared to patients with fewer T cells.

This new step towards a new vaccine is great news. The benefits of vaccinations are quite well known. Vaccines expose you to a non-living version of the virus and allows for the body to produce antibodies to fight off this dead version of the virus. The spread of new infectious diseases decrease and the benefits of vaccination certainly outweigh the risks. Many are afraid that they may get sick from vaccinations, but getting actual measles or the flu is a lot worse than getting a slight cough. If this new vaccine comes out, it can help save thousands of lives. This will not only reduce costs for producing new virus vaccinations, but it also affects worldwide healthcare. It is an advancement that will save lives and money.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/09/24/3855142.htm

-Amanda Ng

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