Texas Researchers Creating Ultimate Flu Shot
North Texas researchers are on the brink of revolutionizing the way we fight the flu.
Every year, scientists try to guess which strain of the flu will cause the most people to get sick. They use that particular flu bug to make a flu vaccine. That's a hit or miss approach, and despite their best efforts, 40,000 people die of flu every year.
But what if there was one flu shot that would protect us from every type of flu there is?
There is a shot like that on the medical horizon, and it's coming soon to a pharmacy and doctor's office near you. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas are very close to developing a generic "one shot fits all" flu vaccine.
Research team leader Dr. Beatrice Fontoura says current flu vaccines are designed for a specific virus, and they won't work at all if the virus mutates, which it does very quickly. That's why so many people who get a flu shot still get sick.
Fontoura says they're approaching the problem from the other direction. "We are...stimulating our own body's response which is already there – boost it – to fight an infection.”
They've discovered a compound that fights all strains of influenza, including the deadly Spanish Flu that killed millions of people around the world between 1917 and 1920.The vaccine will make your body's red blood cells strong enough to fight off any flu virus that comes along.
The research work is ongoing, and it'll take several years for this vaccine to get federal approval and be made available to the public. Even so, researchers say it's the most promising step they've ever taken toward creating the ultimate weapon against the flu.