Viral surveillance and prediction may be key parts of figuring out what goes into a vaccine.
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A new generation of vaccines and boosters against SARS-CoV-2 may take a page from the anti-influenza playbook, with shots periodically tailored to target the most commonly circulating virus strains.
Wouldn’t it be nice if one shot could protect you for life?
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You need a new shot every year because current flu vaccines provide limited and temporary protection. But researchers’ new strategy could mean a one-and-done influenza vaccine is on the way.
Our immune cells become less able to fight off infections as we get older.
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These drugs may help slow or reverse immune system decline.
The consequences of flu infection are much worse in asthmatics, here’s why.
They’re not perfect, but flu shots are still good to get.
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The 2018-2019 flu season was less deadly than the last. But the pattern of infection was unusual, thanks to the various strains circulating and the way flu shots work over time.
An Atlanta hospital set up a mobile ER to deal with the large number of flu cases.
AP Photo/David Goldman
Part of the problem was a mismatch between the influenza strains circulating and the vaccine available. Here’s how annual flu shots are formulated.
People and animals live side by side – and can have pathogens in common.
No one then knew a virus caused the 1918 flu pandemic, much less that animals can be a reservoir for human illnesses. Now virus ecology research and surveillance are key for public health efforts.
Could the yearly flu shot become a thing of the past?
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Flu virus mutates so quickly that one year’s vaccine won’t work on the next year’s common strains. But rational design – a new way to create vaccines – might pave the way for more lasting solutions.
The flu vaccine doesn’t cover all strains of the flu that exist.
There are many flu strains, and those strains can also change and mutate.
What can a single person’s flu infection tell you about how the virus changes around the world?
Xue and Bloom
New genetic technologies are letting us look at flu evolution right where it starts: within individual people, while they’re sick.
Computers may play an important role in preparing us for the next viral outbreak – whether flu or Ebola.
UW Institute for Protein Design
This antivirus software protects health, not computers. Researchers are beginning to combat deadly infections using computer-generated antiviral proteins – a valuable tool to fight a future pandemic.
What if it wasn’t back to the drawing board every year for a new flu shot?
Flu virus mutates so quickly that one year’s vaccine won’t work on the next year’s common strains. But a new way to create vaccines, called ‘rational design,’ might pave the way for more lasting solutions.
GMOs may very well have filled up that syringe.
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Public health experts enlist the molecular biology tools that create genetically modified organisms – as well as the GMOs themselves – in the fight against emerging infectious diseases.
Why the low uptake?
If people are avoiding the flu jab because last year’s protection wasn’t great, that would be a mistake.
The more we take antibiotics, the more likely we are to have superbugs down the line.
Antibiotics can prevent serious harm and stop infections becoming fatal. But they won’t kill common cold and flu viruses, and careless overprescribing by doctors can do more harm than good.
Children in particular experience a multitude of viral illnesses during their early years.
Viruses cause all kinds of infections from relatively mild cases of the flu to deadly outbreaks of Ebola. Clearly, not all viruses are equal and one of these differences is when you can infect others.
There is no such thing as an ideal flu shot. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it.
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