Promising universal flu vaccine could protect against all 20 known strains

Carissa Wong in New Scientist:

An experimental vaccine has generated antibody responses against all 20 known strains of influenza A and B in animal tests, raising hopes for developing a universal flu vaccine.

Influenza viruses are constantly evolving, making them a moving target for vaccine developers. The annual flu vaccines available now are tailored to give immunity against specific strains predicted to circulate each year. However, researchers sometimes get the prediction wrong, meaning the vaccine is less effective than it could be in those years.

Some researchers think annual flu jabs could be replaced by a universal flu vaccine that is effective against all flu strains. Researchers have tried to achieve this by making vaccines containing protein fragments that are common to several influenza strains, but no universal vaccine has yet gained approval for wider use.

Now, Scott Hensley at the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues have created a vaccine based on mRNA molecules – the same approach that was pioneered by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna covid-19 vaccines.

More here.