Thursday, January 18, 2018

So, about that flu shot

Some people aren't getting it this year - amidst reports that in some areas it may provide only 10% protection (I'd argue that 10% is better than 0%).

The flu vaccine varies greatly in effectiveness from year to year because it is simply not feasible to vaccinate against every flu strain. Vaccine manufacturers have to guess...well before flu season...which strains will be most predominate in which areas. Sometimes they do a better job than others.

Which is why the work being done by a group led by researchers at UCLA and also involving Chinese scientists is important. They think they might have found a vaccine that protects you from more strains of the flu.

It works by priming your T cells to detect the flu rather than creating antibodies. Not only would this protect from more strains but it would last more than a year.

Unfortunately, it might also not be feasible for people with subprime OR overactive immune systems (people with a lot of allergies, for example).

But it's an interesting approach and I for one would love to skip the annual shot. And love better protection even more.

(In the mean time, get your flu shot).