Statewide Iowa — Imagine getting one flu shot and having it last you the rest of your life, no boosters needed. That’s the eventual goal of researchers at the University of Iowa who are working with the National Institutes of Health to develop what they call a “universal” flu shot.
Kevin Legge, a University of Iowa pathology professor, says they’re working in stages and are trying to perfect a multi-year flu shot first.
Every flu season brings a new set of circulating flu strains, which means the seasonal vaccine we have now is only good for one year. The universal vaccine would be good for multiple strains over multiple years. So far, he says the vaccine was able to protect mice from multiple strains of flu.
While it’s being referred to as a vaccine, which many of us assocate with getting stuck in the arm by a syringe, Legge says this medicine would be inhaled.
The University of Iowa researchers are working in collaboration with colleagues at Iowa State University. Legge notes, the universal flu vaccine is based on nanoparticle technology which could help protect against new, emerging flu strains that have the potential to cause a pandemic. Last flu season, there were 272 flu-related deaths in Iowa.
Progress on the vaccine is being published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology: