Future of Health: New Approach May Help Develop Universal Flu Vaccines
Researchers at Mt. Sinai Medical School have begun to explore the prospect of universal flu vaccines that may replace the yearly shot.
By testing a new method of targeting flu viruses in mice, researchers at Mt. Sinai Medical School have begun to explore the prospect of universal flu vaccines that may replace the yearly shot. The method calls for directing antibodies towards less frequently evolving parts of common flu virus strains.
Current immunizations create antibodies that target a specific piece of a molecule on the surface of the virus that researchers call its “head.” That piece of the hemaglutinin protein evolves very quickly, which is why you have to get a different flu shot each year as new types of flu develop. The next-generation vaccine causes antibodies to go after a piece of the hemaglutinin that changes less often and that is present in many influenza strains. Researchers are calling them “headless HA” vaccines, and they could be the key to a universal flu shot.
Over the next few weeks, PSFK is running a trends research and innovation project in association with UNICEF. We will be researching (with your help) the development of key trends that impact health and wellbeing and then using our findings to develop with partners concepts that UNICEF and likeminded organizations could consider deploying across the world.
Find out more here: PSFK presents the Future Of Health in association with UNICEF