Seasonal flu causes approximately 24,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year, and a researcher at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine is aiming to improve the system for developing life-saving flu vaccines.
Flu viruses change from season to season, and mutations in flu viruses' proteins cause the viruses to change and go through a process called antigenic drift. Once the viruses' hosts (animals and humans) develop immunities to certain strains of a flu virus, the virus changes. Because of this constant fluctuation in viruses, scientists constantly monitor the movement and mutations in viruses to best develop vaccines. This is an expensive and time-consuming process.
Henry Wan, associate professor at MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, and his colleagues recently published a study in mBio, an American Society of Microbiology publication, that outlines a possibly more efficient and cost-effective way to develop flu vaccines. Read more