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Researchers Find Way to Make One-Time Flu Vaccine

Recombinant genetic engineering uses virus fragment (Dec. 18)

A new process to make a one-time, universal influenza vaccine has been discovered by researchers at Georgia State University’s Center for Inflammation, Immunity, and Infection.

Associate Professor Sang-Moo Kang and his colleagues have found a way to make the one-time vaccine by using recombinant genetic engineering technology that does not use a seasonal virus. Instead, the new vaccine uses a small virus fragment, which does not vary among the different strains of flu viruses. By using the fragment and generating particles mimicking a virus in structure, the immune system can learn to recognize any type of flu virus and attack the pathogen, preventing illness.

The new research was published in Molecular Therapy.

Health officials and scientists must alter flu vaccines every year to match expected strains, and often shortages can result — as happened during the 2009 swine flu outbreak. A one-time vaccine would prevent such a scenario, Kang said.

Using the new one-time vaccine rather than a live viral vaccine or a killed whole virus should be safer for people with weakened immune systems, young children, and the elderly, Kang added.

Source: Georgia State University; December 18, 2012.

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