A new flu vaccine may be on the horizon that would target an area on the head of the flu virus. Part of the difficulty in developing a vaccine is that part of the flu virus changes. But researchers from the University of Michigan say they’ve targeted an area on the flu virus that doesn’t change. It’s the stem or stalk.
“The stalk antibodies for human glutenin were protective in humans, and it’s the first time those stalk antibodies have been shown to be protective,” says U-M researcher Aubree Gordon.
So, what does that mean in layman’s terms? “I think we’re a step closer to a universal flu vaccine, or at least a next-generation flue vaccine,” says Gordon, adding that would be “a vaccine that’s more effective.”
Currently the vaccine changes each year based on what scientists think will be the major strains of influenza.