The universe of universal flu vaccines

How companies are broadening the reach of flu vaccines beyond seasonal strains

With at least 10 flu vaccines in the clinic that could confer protection against a wide range of strains, dispensing with the yearly seasonal vaccine may be in reach.

Currently, seasonal flu vaccines consist of the three or four strains predicted to be most prevalent. But they are often inadequate due to the difficulty of making accurate predictions and the length of time they take to create and distribute, which means predictions need to be made early when they are less certain, and the development of viral mutations that can render the vaccines less effective.

What is needed are flu vaccines that are broadly protective and last beyond a single season.

NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced a strategic plan last year to guide its future investments in influenza research, and defined criteria for a universal flu vaccine: it must be at

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