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Oxford Spin-off looking for a Universal Flu Vaccine

Oxford Spin-off looking for a Universal Flu Vaccine
Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Vaccitech, a spin-off company from the research department of Oxford Universities Jenner Institute is searching for a ‘universal’ vaccine against the seasonal flu [1]. Currently the flu vaccine has to be remade every year in order to offer the best protection possible. However, the changes made to this vaccine are based on a ‘best guess’ of what the flu will be like and not necessarily on the actual virus. [2]

Even when the regular vaccine matches the type of the flu in circulation, every year people over the age of 65 run the risk of facing serious effects caused by the flu [2]. This is due to the weakening of our immune systems as we age. Studies show that vaccines administered to people over the age of 65 are only effective in 30 to 40% of the cases. [3]

The universal flu vaccine would be one that targets the part of the virus that does not change—meaning that it will not only offer better protection, but could also offer long-term protection [2]. Nation-wide in the UK more than 2,000 people aged 65 and older will be asked to participate in the trial starting this year. Some patients will receive the new vaccine and other a placebo in order to test the results more accurately. [3]

The University research department and Vaccitech are hoping that this new universal vaccine will be successful and help decrease the number of people harmed by the flu yearly [3].

[1] https://www.vaccitech.co.uk/about
[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41467097
[3] https://www.vaccitech.co.uk/world-first-nhs-trial-for-universal-flu-vaccine