The flu worries might disappear from the planet. A general-purpose vaccine that works against all flu viruses has been developed and passed the phase 1 clinical trial. As the flu kills more than 500,000 people every year, it is worth saying that it is a feat for the whole of humanity if the development is finally successful. It seems that the number of vaccinations can be significantly reduced because the immunity lasts for several years after one vaccination.
Those who developed the vaccine were researchers at Mount Sinai, Professor Florian Kramer at Icahn Medical School. They recently announced in the renowned international journal Nature Medison that they developed a general-purpose vaccine that is effective against all flu viruses.
One of the biggest obstacles to developing a flu virus vaccine is that the virus mutates. Antibodies induced by the vaccine bind mainly to the mushroom-like head of hemagglutinin (antigenic bumps protruding on the surface of influenza A and B viruses).
The problem is that the area of the protrusion head changes from year to year due to the mutation. Because of this, pharmaceutical companies must develop new vaccines every year.
The vaccine they developed differs in that it induces the production of antibodies that stick to the stem below it instead of the head in the hemagglutinin protrusion. The viral stem region does not cause a mutant reaction unlike the head region due to its nature. For this reason, scientists have long thought that the stem portion of hemagglutinin could be key to the development of a universal vaccine. However, there was no assurance that the site could actually be properly targeted. Professor Kramer’s team finally came up with a vaccine that turned the theory into reality.
The researchers found that the vaccine they developed could be immune to all flu. They also confirmed that a strong immune response lasts for 18 months.
“This universal vaccine could be particularly helpful in low- and middle-income countries that don’t have the resources or logistics to get flu vaccination every year,” the researchers said.
Phase 1 trials dealt with whether an immune response appears. Phase 2 tests deal with whether it is truly safe for humans. If all of the final clinical trials are passed, it is expected that a universal vaccine that works against all flu viruses will be born.
The flu is a terrifying disease that threatens humanity. In Korea, it is estimated that 2,000 people die from the flu every year. Worldwide, more than 650,000 people die each year from the flu. It is a disease as scary as the Corona 19 virus.