An emerging class of flu vaccines could for the first time prevent the wide-scale spread of influenza by shutting down the virus’ ability to spread and mutate, SMH reports.
Princeton University-based researchers said yesterday that the new “cross-protective” or “universal” vaccines, being developed in labs worldwide and some are already in clinical trials, would make a bout with influenza less severe, making it more difficult for the virus to spread, Science Daily reported.
At the same time, the vaccines would hinder the virus’ ability to evolve and evade immunity by targeting its relatively unchanging characteristics, according to HealthCanal.com, which adds that current flu vaccines “target the pathogen’s most adaptable components”.
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers used a computational model to show how cross-protective vaccines could even improve the effectiveness of current vaccines, designed to only fight specific flu strains.
Futurity.org quoted lead author Nimalan Arinaminpathy as saying that controlling the flu, currently more like “chasing a moving target”, could switch focus from reactionary efforts to population-wide prevention.
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