Washington: “Universal” vaccines could allow for the effective, wide-scale prevention of flu by limiting the influenza virus` ability to spread and mutate, say researchers.Universal, or cross-protective, vaccines — so named for their effectiveness against several flu strains — are being developed in various labs worldwide and some are already in clinical trials.Princeton University-based researchers recently found that that the new vaccines would make a bout with influenza less severe, making it more difficult for the virus to spread.At the same time, the vaccines would target relatively unchanging parts of the virus and hamper the virus’ notorious ability to evolve and evade immunity; current flu vaccines target the pathogen’s most adaptable components.A computational model the team developed showed that these factors could achieve unprecedented control of the flu virus both seasonally and during outbreaks of highly contagious new strains. Cross-protective vaccines could even improve the effectiveness of current vaccines, which are designed to only fight specific flu strains, the researchers said.
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