Published: Tue, November 07, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Flu Vaccine "Factories" Create Errors That Reduce Protection

Flu Vaccine

Doctors Medical Center hosted a drive-thru flu shot clinic offering free vaccines for any community member over the age of 18.

Getting your annual flu shot could soon be a thing of the past.

"The good news is that it's much more hard to drive mutations in the stalk, but it's not impossible", says David J. Topham, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and author of the study in Scientific Reports. With the mutation, most people receiving the egg-grown vaccine did not have immunity against H3N2 viruses that circulated a year ago. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get vaccinated by the end of October so if you haven't already gotten the shot, there's no time like the present. Essentially, they'd be creating a new vaccine. The problem with H3N2 strains of flu is that they don't grow well in egg cells.

Flu vaccines aim to protect us by priming our immune systems. Hensley and his team reported this egg-induced mutation, which was present in the 2016-17 USA seasonal flu vaccine, decreases the ability of certain antibodies to attach to and destroy the flu virus-by a whopping three orders of magnitude. A 2014 study used epidemiological data to show egg-based mutations are associated with low vaccine effectiveness in human populations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that a year ago influenza vaccination prevented approximately 5.1 million influenza illnesses, 2.5 million influenza-associated medical visits and 71,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.

How effective is the vaccine at preventing the flu?

That list includes children six months to five years old, seniors 65 and older, pregnant women, aboriginal people, indivduals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems, anyone who lives with any of the above people, and visitors to long-term care facilities and hospitals. Since May 21, 2017, the agency has analyzed H3N2 viruses that have circulated in the USA and internationally.

Netflix cuts ties with Kevin Spacey as more accusations surface
Spacey said he would go for unspecified "treatment" for the pattern of abusive behaviour, and also came out of the closet as gay. The production company behind the show, Media Rights Capital, said that it would consider a post-Spacey path for the show.

However, when a version of the 2016-2017 vaccine produced without eggs was delivered to ferrets and people, antibodies "were able to effectively recognize and neutralize the new H3N2 virus". The vaccine does contain a small amount of egg protein, according to the CDC. The CDC has a handy website that can give you a list of places near you offering the vaccine based on your zip code. Last year, for example, the vaccines was 55 to 60 percent effective against types of influenza B.

With viral strains adapting on a yearly basis, vaccine makers are left to predict not only how they will evolve, but how likely they are to produce an outbreak and at what point in the year.

Commonly, vaccine candidates are tested in immunologically naïve model systems that do not have anti-influenza immune responses. And vaccinated individuals also protect vulnerable people such as those with immune conditions and severe allergies who can not get vaccinated.

What are the vaccine's side effects?

Hensley said the findings show that a new method needs to be developed for widespread use.

Like this: