Penn study pinpoints why last year's flu shot was a dud

Posted November 08, 2017

The flu shot is available at the flu clinics, physicians' offices, as well as at pharmacies.

The health department stresses it's important to get vaccinated soon, before the worst part of the flu season arrives. The conventional influenza vaccine platform uses weakened or dead versions of the influenza virus to stimulate immunity against hemagglutinin (HA), a spike-shaped protein that extends from the surface of the virus and attacks cells. You can have some side effects after vaccination, but this is not flu illness. All modern strains of the virus developed from the initial strain and still share some of the same genes, thus allowing a vaccine with the ancestral form to provide protection against all current and future strains of the flu.

THE flu jab is likely to offer limited protection this winter because the virus mutates during manufacturing, a study claims. Scientists are trying various approaches to better match vaccines to multiple viral strains. Some people have a presumption that the flu vaccines is not effective.

As for those who have contracted the influenza virus, Dr. Vooght recommends that they stay at home and rest. The fluid in the eggs is then removed and purified to get enough of the virus strain to make the vaccine.

In the lab, they coupled the H1N1 virus with human antibodies - immune system soldiers that fight off foreign invaders.

The efficacy of the vaccine against influenza has been significantly limited in 2016, protecting that 20% to 30% of vaccinated persons, have determined researchers who argue for a different technique of production that does not use eggs.

The current strain of H3N2 emerged during the 2014-15 flue season and remains prevalent today. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can not transmit infection. These statistics demonstrate "that there is a need for more effective vaccine technologies", Weaver argues. There are now two non-chicken egg flu vaccines made in the U.S. One is FLUCELVAX, and is grown in canine kidney cells, and the second, Flublok, is grown in insect cells.

"Our experiments suggest that influenza virus antigens grown in systems other than eggs are more likely to elicit protective antibody responses against H3N2 viruses that are now circulating", Hensley said.