Industry's favored flu shot production process hurt efficacy previous year

Flu Virus

The flu shot is available at the flu clinics, physicians' offices, as well as at pharmacies.

This means the flu shot is free to all children six months to five years of age, people 65 and older and adults, including pregnant women, and children with chronic health conditions and compromised immune systems.

One important reason flu shots don't usually work very well is because they're grown in chicken eggs, a slow and tricky process that can go wrong easily, researchers told NBC News.

But the researchers hope that their approach might one day lead to a "universal" flu vaccine that would provide long-term protection against flu viruses.

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Another illness that some people may not know isn't related to the influenza virus is the stomach flu.

Current vaccines, which require experts to pick the flu strains that they believe are going to circulate in a given year, are typically 40 to 70 percent effective in the United States, though in some years protection is as low as 20 percent.

The goal is to combine the desired HA and NA antigens from the target strain (flu strain 1) with genes from a harmless strain that grows well in an egg (flu strain 2). I've read that the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine is equally effective. The fluid in the eggs is then removed and purified to get enough of the virus strain to make the vaccine. A unit of Australia's CSL, the company is using a massive former Novartis plant in North Carolina for its cell-based flu vaccine production. This limits the spread of the virus. When we're exposed to the proteins that form the outer layer of a killed flu virus, we generate antibodies that are ready to attack flu viruses whenever they reappear. "During the 2014-2015 influenza season, clade 3C.2a H3N2 viruses possessing a new predicted glycosylation site in antigenic site B of HA emerged, and these viruses remain prevalent today", wrote the article's authors. Interestingly, the sugar-adorned viruses are not found in vaccines made using other methods. However, antibodies elicited in ferrets infected with the current circulating H3N2 viral strain (that contains the new protein) and humans vaccinated with a H3N2 vaccine produced in a non-egg system were able to effectively recognize and neutralize the new H3N2 virus.

It takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

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