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tiptrot.com November 24, 2017


Why there's no good excuse for not getting the flu shot

08 November 2017, 12:11 | Nichole Osborne

Why there's no good excuse for not getting the flu shot

Flu jab mutations mean injections are unlikely to protect against a key strain of the virus

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.

Scientists said the research showed the need to improve methods of vaccine production, and to rely less on development of vaccines which use chicken eggs. All modern strains of the virus developed from the initial strain and still share some of the same genes, thus allowing a vaccine with the ancestral form to provide protection against all current and future strains of the flu.

In contrast, all of the mice that were given traditional flu shots got sick and died when exposed to the same lethal doses of flu.

Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for young children, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.

As for those who have contracted the influenza virus, Dr. Vooght recommends that they stay at home and rest. Due to the mutation, most people receiving the egg-grown vaccine did not have immunity against H3N2 viruses that circulated past year, leaving the vaccine with only 20 to 30 percent effectiveness. "During the 2014-2015 influenza season, clade 3C.2a H3N2 viruses possessing a new predicted glycosylation site in antigenic site B of HA emerged, and these viruses remain prevalent today", wrote the article's authors.


Because the study was conducted in mice, it's too soon to say whether the vaccine would successfully work in humans.

Scientific American explains all the medical details very simply - In 2014, the H3N2 virus began wearing a new molecule on one of its surface proteins. That sugar makes its hard for our antibodies to attach to the virus and kill it, and protect the virus from destruction.

It takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

"Our experiments suggest that influenza virus antigens grown in systems other than eggs are more likely to elicit protective antibody responses against H3N2 viruses that are now circulating", Hensley said. Gold, Scott Hensley and his team have found that the mutant protein of the H3N2 viruses grew poorly in crops grown in eggs.



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