"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Testing of a possible universal flu vaccine begins

May 16, 2023 – A clinical trial is currently underway to check a universal flu vaccine based on the messenger RNA technology that underlies Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines. National Institute of Health announced.

The Phase 1 study will involve 50 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 49. The study will examine the security of the experimental vaccine and whether it triggers an immune response, the NIH said. The vaccine may even be compared with currently available vaccines.

“A universal flu vaccine would be a major public health success and could eliminate the need for annual development of seasonal flu vaccines as well as the need for annual flu vaccination for patients,” said Dr. Hugh Auchincloss, deputy director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “In addition, some flu virus strains have significant pandemic potential. A universal flu vaccine could provide an important line of defense against the spread of a future flu pandemic.”

According to the NIH, hundreds of individuals die from seasonal flu annually within the United States. According to the CDC, between 12,000 and 52,000 people died from flu annually on this country between 2010 and 2020.

Currently, scientists must attempt to predict the prevailing flu viruses far enough upfront to offer drug manufacturers enough time to provide vaccines.

NBC News reports that the predominant strains can change between the time predictions are made and the time vaccines are manufactured, resulting in a lack of effectiveness. Vaccines reduce the chance of disease by 40 to 60 percent after they are well matched to the strains in circulation, the CDC says.

NIAID researchers developed the experimental vaccine. Volunteers from Duke University in North Carolina are participating within the study.