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Flu Vaccine (cont.)

Future Flu Vaccines

There are many researchers looking for ways to protect humans with vaccines against both seasonal and pandemic flu outbreaks. It is likely that new developments in vaccine synthesis and production will be used in the next few years, like the recombinant DNA Flublok vaccine introduced for the 2013-2014 flu season. In the private sector, Novavax, Inc., announced favorable outcomes in Mexico with its initial trial (stage A) of VLP ("virus-like particle") H1N1 vaccine in about 1,000 people. VLP vaccines are made from the viral coat antigens but contain no live genetic material (viral genome). VLPs can be designed to match individual viral strains and are produced quickly with portable cell-culture technology instead of egg-based cultures that require significant time and materials to produce vaccine. Researchers in Israel are trying to produce a vaccine that may be effective against all flu strains and report that the experimental vaccine has completed its initial trial in Israel. The vaccine is based on developing an antibody and cellular immune response to epitopes (antigens) that are found in all strains of influenza viruses.

If ongoing experimental studies show effective protection and successful adaptation to mass production, vaccines against the flu will be markedly changed to the benefit of all.

In addition, a new vaccine has been developed to prevent or decrease the effects of influenza in dogs (Novibac canine flu H3N8), but not all vets suggest vaccination. Many vets suggest vaccination of only high-risk dogs (for example, dogs housed together in closed rooms). Currently, there is no evidence that dog flu infects humans.

Other flu vaccines that may be developed in the near future may be a vaccine against the new H3N2v strain that is currently undergoing transfer from pigs to humans; in addition, there may be a vaccine developed in the future against the bird flu.

In the next few years, there may be additional substantial changes in the way vaccines are made; some researchers suggest the new vaccines also may be able to protect people against a wider range of viral types.

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