Reason Flu Vaccines Are So Lousy: They're Grown in Eggs

Goldstream Gazette file

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 USA, though in some years protection is as low as 20 percent.

The flu season has arrived, with eight flu-related hospitalizations in Spokane in September. Peak months for the flu in the US occur between December and March, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After vaccinating the mice, the researchers infected them with nine strains of the flu - including strains of H1N1, H3N1, H3N2 and H5N1- at a dose that typically kills mice.

Current vaccines provide protection against only three or four strains of the flu and are not always correct in predicting what strains will be worst that year. And that is the nature of the beasts.

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. The 2016-2017 vaccine was only 43 percent effective against the predominant influenza A H3N2 strain, and protection has been nearly as low in other years.

Because flu viruses mutate rapidly, researchers have found it hard to develop a flu vaccine with long-term protection.

Last year's influenza vaccine reduced the number of flu-related visits to the doctor by 42 percent, and the vacine reduced the specific strain of flu virus by even less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said the H3N2 strain left the vaccine only 20-30 percent effective. "So, this could be another hard year if this season is dominated by H3N2 viruses again". Scientists are trying various approaches to better match vaccines to multiple viral strains. Seasonal flu shots will be available to UO students, faculty and staff on November 9 and 16, from 8 to11 a.m.at the health center.

Flu vaccine is available in Pueblo. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, vaccines are updated annually to keep up with the changing viruses. The eggs are then allowed to incubate, and in turn, this allows the virus to replicate. For example they may have got a food vaccine and got sick anyway. This limits the spread of the virus.

The current strain of H3N2 emerged during the 2014-15 flue season and remains prevalent today. The vaccine 2016 had been "updated" to include the new version of this mutant protein but without much success, he says. These statistics demonstrate "that there is a need for more effective vaccine technologies", Weaver argues. The shot stimulates immunity against a protein called hemagglutinin, which extends from the surface of the flu virus. It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to reach maximum protection.

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