Can a vaccine prevent future flu pandemics?

The virologist Adolfo García-Sastre has explained a new project that would eliminate the need to get vaccinated every year, and only three would be enough in a lifetime. It is clear that currently vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic are concentrating all the world powers' science and health efforts. However, at the same time, another tremendously important one is developing that, although it does not act against Covid-19, could prevent new pandemic flu such as the influenza A that we had in 2009.

This week, a study was published in the journal Nature Medicine, which explains this promising vaccine's development. "If the vaccine works as we expect it to work, eliminate the need to be vaccinated annually against influenza, and only three vaccinations are needed in total over the life of a person. "If the vaccine works as we expect it to work, eliminate the need to be vaccinated annually against influenza and only three vaccinations are needed in total over the life of a person," told nius the Spanish epidemiologist Adolfo García-Sastre, director director of the Institute for Global Health and Emerging Pathogens at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Up to annual 600,000 deaths caused by seasonal flu

Seasonal flu has quite a significant impact on mortality throughout the world as the World Health Organization estimates 300,000 and 600,000 people pass away from this cause. There have been four pandemics in a century, with the flu in 1918 causing more than 40 million deaths. And although the flu is not always fatal, millions of people still come to inject the vaccine each fall and winter.

The vaccine that could reduce the risk of getting infected

A vaccine that offers broad immunity will likely protect us against any emerging virus subtype or strain and significantly improve our preparedness for a pandemic like the one we now see with COVID-19, explains Florian Krammer, study co-author and researcher at the Mount Sinai.

So far, the vaccine has already been tested in phase 1 of the clinical trial in 55 volunteers from the United States, who have developed a strong immune response in the following 18 months. This phase has allowed us to advance when it comes to an understanding of the duration of the immune response and gives us great hope about the future of this innovative vaccine," says Krammer.

Differences with the rest of the vaccines

As stated by the expert, seasonal flu generates an uncertainty intended to be corrected with the new vaccine, which is that it sets its target on a different part of the virus protein, which attaches to the host's cells, the hemagglutinin.