Imagine Not Getting Flu Shot Every Year — Researchers are Working on It

Researchers are experimenting on a flu shot that could change the vaccine you get per year. If the experiment is a success, this new vaccine could last for several flu seasons. In that case, you do not need to get it every fall. Furthermore, it is more effective than the one you are getting now. 

Current Flu Shot Not Perfect

The flu shot that you get now is beneficial in preventing you from getting the flu. But it is not perfect. The vaccine is only effective about 60%. It can go down as low as 10% on a bad year. 

One of the reasons for this is that the virus changes constantly. For example, the strain that is present in one flu season will be gone the next year. It will be replaced by another strain that has not been around for a decade. It makes flu scary and tricky to treat. 

The present flu vaccine can only prevent three or four strains of the virus. In that case, scientists will GUESS the type of strains they put in the vaccine per year. 

That’s why they are now experimenting on a universal flu shot. In theory, it would cover every strain of the flu. 

It would use an ice cream cone approach. Imagine a shop serving a variety of flavors. It served all flavors on the same cone. The present flu vaccine is aiming at the ice cream. But the universal flu shot aims at the cone. 

Doctors are now testing this universal flu vaccine to find out how participants would respond. If the universal flu shot would work out as researchers are hoping, it would protect patients from flu pandemics. 

What is a Flu Pandemic

It is a situation where a new flu virus strain emerges. Only a few people are immune to it. Thus, it can easily spread. Flu pandemics happened in 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. 

Unfortunately, researchers are experimenting on the universal flu shot for a decade now. And if it would be a success, it would only be available on the market for another decade. 

The experiment got an extra push when the current US President Donald Trump signed an EO to develop a better flu shot. Although it will still take less time, the development of a semi-universal flu vaccine can still take many years to complete. But the future flu vaccine will protect you against a group of flu viruses. 

Currently, the flu shot manufacturers are taking smaller steps to provide a better flu vaccine. The flu vaccines that you can find on the market now are made of chicken eggs. Yes, they are like the ones you eat for breakfast. 

Scientists will just choose the flu strains that they believe will attack during the upcoming flu season. Then, they put the viruses in the egg and they multiply. Once they grow, they utilize the viruses to produce the shot. 

Viruses Do Mutate

While the viruses are inside the eggs, they can mutate. In other words, the ones that were put by the scientists in the eggs might not match the viruses that are making people sick during the flu season. And it is one of the reasons the flu shot has low effectiveness rates. 

Some pharmaceutical companies now are growing the flu viruses in a lab. But it still needs to grow the virus, a task that can be tedious. The most accurate method, according to some scientists, is to create the protein of the virus and forgoing the method of growing the virus. 

That is, they clone the virus’ codes for the protein they want. They just require the virus sequence and genetic map. And this is the kind of technology that is being utilized today to create the current vaccines. 

While waiting for the universal flu shot, you can do something that can prevent yourself from getting the flu. 

How to Prevent the Flu Virus 

The flu virus is difficult to defeat because it can be easily transmitted through the air. Furthermore, it can survive on surfaces for 48 hours. Then, if it is in your hand, it can thrive there for an hour. Thus, it makes sense to use hand sanitizers. Disinfecting wipes are also allies during the flu season

Because illnesses, like the flu, can be spread by the hands, hand hygiene is a vital aspect in preventing the flu virus. Apart from making it a habit to wash your hands, you should also heed to the following tactics: 


Not getting sufficient sleep will make you more susceptible to colds. Hence, make sure that you sleep for more than six hours a day. You must target at least 8 hours per night, especially during a busy week. 

Have the Habit of Disinfecting Phone 

You touch your phone continually. After touching it, you touch other surfaces. It is a great way for the virus to be moving around. Thus, it makes sense to use alcohol wipes on your phones and clean your house once a day. 

Drink a tea

Tea contains catechins. They are a type of antioxidant that can prevent the spread of flu virus. Instead of drinking coffee, why not opt for tea. 

Take vitamin D

This type of vitamin may help in strengthening your immune system. It can also help in fighting infection. Vitamin D can be found in various sources, like dairy products, fatty fish and sunlight. 

However, you must not overconsume it. Keep in mind that there is little evidence that can suggest it can lower the risk of acquiring influenza. But, proper nutrition is vital in ensuring that you have a responsive immune system. 

Avoid touching your face 

The prime entry points for the flu virus are the nose, eyes, and mouth. By simply rubbing your eyes or scratching your nose can put you at risk of getting the flu. Thus, make sure to avoid it. You need to make an effort not to touch your face without first sanitizing your hand. 

Get the flu shot

No matter how careful you are, viruses can still attack you. Thus, make sure to get your flu shot to avoid getting sick. Although the flu virus may only make you mildly sick, some people died because of it.


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