Why the flu vaccine was not very effective in 2016

Posted November 08, 2017

However, as the study was done on mice, more research needs to be conducted to determine if the vaccine works in human. Due to the mutation, most people receiving the egg-grown vaccine did not have immunity against H3N2 viruses that circulated a year ago, leaving the vaccine with only 20 to 30 percent effectiveness.

"Even influenza vaccine manufacturers are recognizing that, over time, the egg-based production process will become obsolete and will be replaced with a more modern production process", she said.

"The flu shot is safe, free, widely available, and is proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to flu", Kim Presta, a manager in the health unit's clinical services division, said in a release.

"This first hospitalized flu cases confirms flu is circulating in the Pueblo community", said Jody Carrillo, division director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department.

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Conventional vaccines have been shown to be less than 60 percent effective when they're successfully matched to the now circulating strain. Traditional flu shot basically contains feeble and dead version of flu viruses.

A nurse vaccinates U.S. President Barack Obama against the H1N1 flu at the White House in 2009. Scientists are trying various approaches to better match vaccines to multiple viral strains.

Apart from the above target, researchers are using different strategies to create a global flu shot vaccine that could target the stem of the protein which has got less chance of changing seasonally.

The idea is to use an ancestral form of the influenza virus in a vaccine. The eggs are then allowed to incubate, and in turn, this allows the virus to replicate. Once it has been injected, these specific viruses trigger the body's immune system to go against proteins which move away from the surface of the flu virus. That sugar makes its hard for our antibodies to attach to the virus and kill it, and protect the virus from destruction. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to become protected. "Current H3N2 viruses do not grow well in chicken eggs, and it is impossible to grow these viruses in eggs without adaptive mutations", Dr. Hensley explained.

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