Tests start on universal flu vaccine8th September 2008
A "universal flu vaccine" made by a research team at Oxford University is currently undergoing trial testing on human subjects in the UK.
The vaccine could put an end to the current vaccination programme, which requires people to have an injection every year.
The new vaccine focuses on "different" parts of the influenza virus and could mean that it would not need to be updated annually to stop new strains.
Study leader, Dr Sarah Gilbert, said current flu vaccines are created so they induce an "immune response to H and N proteins on the outer shell of the virus".
However, these proteins can mutate, which meant the vaccine has to be updated annually.
The research team created a new vaccine which focused on the proteins contained in the inner shell of the virus. These proteins share similarity across many different types of the virus.
The vaccine carries the proteins into cells by using a "weakened smallpox virus". It then multiplies and is attacked by T immune cells.
12 volunteers will be given the vaccine to check dose requirements before more studies proceed.
Dr Gilbert said: "With having to make new vaccine every year there's never enough to go around. With this vaccine, we could end up having pretty much everyone vaccinated - a situation more like measles where you don't really see it anymore."
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Title: Tests start on universal flu vaccine
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 8201
Date Added: 8th Sep 2008