from the world's big
We may never have to get more than one flu shot again.
- Scientists have discovered immune cells that can fight all different kinds of the flu virus.
- Depending on a patient's immune system, one shot could cover someone for 10 years or potentially life.
- This breakthrough could save thousands worldwide.
What’s the breakthrough with this vaccine?<p>In the study, which was <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41590-019-0320-6" target="_blank">published in <em>Nature</em>,</a> researchers identified parts of the virus that haven't changed within the past century. This is a novel and exciting approach for creating a one and done vaccine. The team started out by analyzing parts of the flu virus that were all common in each influenza strain. The goal was to find out which section would be the best target for a universal vaccine. </p><p>Professor Kedzierska states: </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was really like finding a needle in a haystack. We started with 67,000 viral sequences and narrowed it down to three sequences that the killer T-cells can recognize." </p><p>Kedzierska says that although this is a major breakthrough, at this point the universal vaccine would only be effective for half of the world's population, because of the diversity of DNA, as in those who have the killer T-cells and those who have a different set.</p><p>"Now what we are working on is using similar cutting-edge technology is to find similar killer T-cells for the rest of the global population so we can protect everyone," she said. </p><p>When we are infected with a flu virus, our cells dissect the virus and extend a protein called HLA to the parts of our cells afflicted. By utilizing our common immune defense system against a universal aspect of the flu virus, we should be able to be totally immune from all future flu mutations.</p>
How do flu vaccines currently work?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTIyMTk3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMTU4ODQ0MH0.P1w-YbA4ZR3-Oi4RMRBuC08xm-_CCz-51fwH0JFWw-s/img.jpg?width=980" id="0b36a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5e8ce216254b400aa4da19d3f02a4b29" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The flu virus<p>Flu vaccines create antibodies that are developed in the body about two weeks post vaccination. Once the antibodies get to work, we're provided protection by the viruses which are in the vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccines protect against that year's most prevalent and most researched common flu for the upcoming season. </p> <p>Our body's killer immune cells will maintain a remembered immunity to an infection we were previously exposed to. </p> <p>The problem is that there are new flu strains every year. That's why we keep getting sick and some people perish from the virus. The virus is constantly mutating in order to thwart our immune systems, which means new vaccinations must be created every year.</p>
How many people have died from the flu last year?<p>The <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm" target="_blank">CDC reports </a>that during the 2017–2018 flu season, there was a predominant mix of influenza A followed by influenza B viruses circulating around March of 2018. The season had an unusually high level of hospitalization rates and larger proportions of pneumonia and flu-associated deaths. As per the statistics: </p><ul><li>An estimated 79,400 people died from influenza last year. </li><li>There were about 959,000 hospitalizations.</li><li>More than 22 million people went to a healthcare provider.</li><li>Highest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic when 60 million were sick. </li></ul><p>The flu can either be a nuisance or a life-threatening event. It's good to know that we're making progress on this virus and most likely one day throw it in the dustbin of old deadly diseases.</p>
A measles comeback is not the sort of return our children deserve.
- The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years.
- In 2016 in Europe there were 5,273 cases of measles. One year later that jumped to 21,315 cases.
- Discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield's false study linking vaccines and autism still influences parents, two decades later.
A medical worker injects a baby with a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine at a health station in Banda Aceh in Aceh province on September 19, 2018. Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP<p>The CDC <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6740a4.htm?s_cid=mm6740a4_e" target="_blank">notes</a> that coverage was lowest among the uninsured and children covered under Medicaid. A free, federally-funded <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/index.html" target="_blank">Vaccines For Children</a> program exists, causing <em>The </em><em>Washington Post</em> to speculate that at least part of this issue might be education. </p><p>Yet really, this entire debacle is indicative of a lack of education. Vaccine researcher Peter Hotez, whose daughter suffers from autism, has published a book detailing the issue, in which which he <a href="https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/10/16/17964992/vaccine-autism-book-peter-hotez" target="_blank">explains</a>: </p><blockquote>From my experience, a majority of vaccine-hesitant parents are not deeply dug in. They've gotten misinformation from anti-vaccine websites and social media, or they've heard something unsavory about vaccines from friends and relatives… Then there's another group, maybe 10 to 20 percent who are deeply dug in and believe all of the fake conspiracy theories. Those individuals are really difficult to reach.</blockquote><p>For most of history, disease was ambiguous, random, metaphysical even — there is no dearth in literature relating sickness with gods and demons. It was long thought karma was the reason you fell ill or died. We know better today, yet too many people refuse to recognize this basic fact, placing their faith in biological mysticism. This is child abuse, yet sadly this is akin to smartphone addiction: we're simply not ready to label it as such on a societal scale. </p><p>Vaccine science is not perfect. Each year, the efficacy of the influenza vaccine is an educated guess. However, just because researchers haven't nailed every facet of disease does not mean we should write off the science. Millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines. Now, if current trends continues, millions more will be put at risk.</p><p>The majority of American children are vaccinated. I've heard complaints by a number of friends whose children are put on a rigorous schedule from birth; their skepticism of the validity of this approach is warranted. We should debate courses. We should not, however, debate basic science, such as vaccinating children for measles or polio. Parents putting their children at risk due to their own lack of common sense is not only unfair, it's dangerous.</p><p>--</p><p><span></span><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p>
It's been 100 years since the world's last deadliest flu pandemic. Experts warn that another one is inevitable, but are we ready?
- 100 years ago, the Spanish Flu killed over 50 million people.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 80,000 Americans died of the flu last winter.
- Experts stress that the world needs to take precautions and prepare for the next pandemic.