“Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) have found a way to induce antibodies to fight a wide range of influenza subtypes — work that could one day eliminate the need for repeated seasonal flu shots.
“This study shows that we’re moving in the right direction for a universal flu vaccine,” said Ian Wilson, Hansen Professor of Structural Biology and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at TSRI.
The study was part of TSRI’s long-term collaboration to strengthen research against infectious disease with the former Crucell Vaccine Institute, now known as Janssen Prevention Center and headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands.
The research was published online ahead of print on August 24 by the journal Science.
The Need for Better Flu Shots
Seasonal flu typically causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths every year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While a yearly flu shot provides some protection, subtypes not covered by the vaccine can emerge rapidly. This phenomenon was evident in the 2009 spread of the H1N1 (“swine flu”) subtype that killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide.”
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