Why the flu vaccine was not very effective in 2016

Why the flu vaccine was not very effective in 2016

Why the flu vaccine was not very effective in 2016

Getting your annual flu shot could soon be a thing of the past.

After vaccinating the mice, the researchers infected them with nine strains of the flu - including strains of H1N1, H3N1, H3N2 and H5N1- at a dose that typically kills mice. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, vaccines are updated annually to keep up with the changing viruses.

"The flu vaccine is the first line of defence against getting the flu each year", the email said.

Current vaccines provide protection against only three or four strains of the flu and are not always correct in predicting what strains will be worst that year.

"We need to get away from the antiquated production model, which the egg is", said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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The goal is to combine the desired HA and NA antigens from the target strain (flu strain 1) with genes from a harmless strain that grows well in an egg (flu strain 2). Since it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to affect the body, the earlier in the season people get vaccinated the better their chances of being protected. For example they may have got a food vaccine and got sick anyway. The shot stimulates immunity against a protein called hemagglutinin, which extends from the surface of the flu virus. "It's a virus that spreads quite easily, it's a virus that spreads before any symptoms are even visible".

During the 2014-2015 flu season, a strain of the H3N2 virus with a different outer layer protein emerged and this version of H3N2 remains prevalent today. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can not transmit infection.

Researchers have identified why the vaccine was only 20 to 30 per cent effective last year - and warn we face the same problem this year. There are now two non-chicken egg flu vaccines made in the U.S. One is FLUCELVAX, and is grown in canine kidney cells, and the second, Flublok, is grown in insect cells. At some point during the development of last year's vaccine, the egg-grown protein acquired a mutation that reduced its effectiveness in warding off the live virus.

"Our experiments suggest that influenza virus antigens grown in systems other than eggs are more likely to elicit protective antibody responses against H3N2 viruses that are now circulating", Hensley said.

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