Outdated technology makes flu vaccine only 20 percent effective

Excuse #1: I got the flu vaccine last year, so I should still be immune this year. It was suggested that the A H3N2 virus possessed an adaptive mutation that affected egg-grown vaccines.

Because flu viruses mutate rapidly, researchers have found it hard to develop a flu vaccine with long-term protection.

"The flu vaccine is the first line of defence against getting the flu each year", the email said.

One of the most promising strategies-creating a vaccine that targets the "stalk" of a protein that covers the flu virus-is a strong one, but it isn't completely bulletproof.

"The excuses people use for not getting the flu shot are often based on incorrect medical information or myths, but working in our Merrill clinic for several years, I've seen the real-life health consequences that people suffer by not getting their yearly flu shot", he said. Scientists are trying various approaches to better match vaccines to multiple viral strains. The eggs are then allowed to incubate, and in turn, this allows the virus to replicate.

"Some of the hospitals in York Region have developed their own in-house campaign and have accessed our staff to support them in providing infection prevention and control education on the importance of influenza immunizations", the email said. They only know at the end of the season if their vaccine was a good match. They adopt genetic changes that help them grow in the egg environment. "During the 2014-2015 influenza season, clade 3C.2a H3N2 viruses possessing a new predicted glycosylation site in antigenic site B of HA emerged, and these viruses remain prevalent today", wrote the article's authors.

Researchers have identified why the vaccine was only 20 to 30 per cent effective last year - and warn we face the same problem this year. Once injected, these viruses stimulate the body's immune system to act against a protein that extends from the surface of the flu virus. Interestingly, the sugar-adorned viruses are not found in vaccines made using other methods. It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to reach maximum protection. "Our data suggest that we should invest in new technologies to significantly increase the production of influenza vaccines that do not depend on eggs", he argued.

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