Flu: Why This Year's Outbreak Is One Of The Worst

Jarun Ontakra/Shutterstock

Rosie McCall 02 Feb 2018, 11:42

What’s worse is that this increase in proportion of influenza B makes it more difficult to protect from because the most popular vaccine in the UK is a “trivalent” that protects against three flu viruses (H1N1, H3N2 and one of the two kinds of influenza B). This year, though, the other type of influenza B (Yamagata) is more common meaning that those with the trivalent vaccine will be protected less, although they would likely get some cross-influenza B protection.

One vaccine to rule them all

Influenza is incredibly diverse. And this diversity can have devastating consequences for human and animal health. Although our ability to track flu, predict the viruses making up the next season and produce safe and effective vaccines is improving, we are always playing catch up. Efforts to produce a universal flu vaccine are, however, being pursued by scientists across the world. The idea would be that a single vaccine given a few times during your life would protect you from any flu virus, irrespective of H, N, A or B.

Researchers are working on a universal flu vaccine that will protect against all strains of the virus. Manjurul Haque/Shutterstock.com

But, until then, you can defend yourself and your loved ones from the flu this year by getting your vaccine, practicing good personal hygiene, such as handwashing, and avoiding crowded spaces if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Connor Bamford, Virologist, University of Glasgow and Julien Amat, PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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