‘Pandemic In Slow Motion’ Reason To Develop Universal Flu Vaccine
Financial Times: Flu risks apply pressure on science for a universal vaccine
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator at Financial Times
“…Many scientists … insist that the only way to stop a future [influenza] pandemic is by developing a universal flu vaccine. … One approach to a universal vaccine, being pursued at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, is to focus not on the surface proteins but instead on internal proteins common to all influenza A viruses. It’s a bit like teaching the immune system to spot a spanner handle, rather than its hole. Another approach, pioneered at the University of California-Los Angeles and published in Science this month, has been to scrutinize the influenza A genome and find its key genetic weapon for slipping past the body’s defenses. … We should cross our fingers. The World Health Organization estimates that up to half a million people die each year from flu. … When you stop to think about it, seasonal flu is a pandemic in slow motion” (2/5).