While the pandemic continues to affect communities globally, scientists are continuing to work on containing other infectious diseases. With fall quickly approaching, the flu is a major concern for vulnerable populations — each year, seasonal influenza infects three to five million people, killing anywhere from 200,000–600,000 of them.
At the Univ. at Buffalo (UB) and McMaster Univ., researchers have developed an experimental flu vaccine that consists of tiny, spherical sacs filled with flu-fighting proteins. In preclinical studies, the novel vaccine took less time to produce than standard flu vaccines, and it was effective in smaller doses. According to the researchers, it is also more efficacious than standard seasonal flu vaccines, which typically prevent infection in 40–60% of exposures.
To produce standard flu vaccines, scientists predict which virus strains will be prevalent in the upcoming season. These viruses are injected into fertilized chicken eggs, where they replicate. The fluid containing the viruses is harvested from the eggs, and the viruses are killed or inactivated and purified for human inoculation. The inactivated viruses provoke an immune response in the vaccine recipient, conferring immunity from future infection...
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