Researchers believe that they can make a new and better vaccine for the treatment of flu. They are doing research on the genetics of flu virus in order to discover a vaccine that can help in the treatment of the condition. Generally, the common flu vaccines are not effective in curing flu. These vaccines just reduce the symptoms of the infection and prevent the condition from getting severe. They also prevent death and help avoid hospitalization of an infected person. The vaccines are not so effective because the flu viruses keep on mutating (changing DNA sequence) all the time. Thus, the vaccines become ineffective for new cases of flu.
Every year, various flu viruses like H1N1, H3N2, or influenza B virus (one or two types) infect a large number of people. Thus, the researchers are studying the genetic structure of the flu virus in order to create a better vaccine for the treatment of the infection. A team of researchers from University of California, Los Angeles, led by Dr. Ren Sun, took a different path to find a vaccination for the treatment of flu. The scientists kept on mutating the flu viruses until they got a version that was easily eliminated by the immune system of body.
Mutating the virus helps in making it weak and also enables the immune system to identify it. Thus, the immune system releases interferons that can help in fighting against the flu virus. The team of researchers tried to develop an attenuated vaccine. This is a common type of vaccine which contains weakened virus that enables the immune system to identify it and eliminate it.
The vaccine was tested in mice and ferrets suffering from flu. It was found that interferons released by their immune system not only eliminate flu virus, but also induce the body to produce more interferon. Researchers believe that attenuated vaccine can work against all forms of flu viruses unlike other vaccines that are currently available in the market. Also, they believe it to be a universal flu vaccine that can protect people against all types of flu viruses for more than one year.