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Novel strategy may improve seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness

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  • Novel strategy may improve seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness

    New findings describe a novel strategy for predicting how circulating influenza viruses will evolve, an approach that may help scientists create better seasonal influenza vaccines. The findings, which appear in the journal Nature Microbiology, were conducted by scientists affiliated with the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
    The seasonal influenza vaccine must be updated each year because flu viruses mutate. The changes in globally circulating flu strains are monitored each season and these data are used to predict which strains will be most prevalent during the next flu season. The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three or four predicted dominant strains. However, sometimes an unexpected or an entirely new strain predominates, or emerges too late to be included in the vaccine. This happened during the 2014-2015 flu season, and that season's flu vaccine was less than 20 percent effective at protecting against influenza infection.

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    The original article