Vanderbilt leads international effort to create universal flu vaccine

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are leading an international effort to develop a universal flu vaccine.

The vaccine would help protect everyone against every strain of the flu anywhere in the world.

According to a press release, current flu vaccines can reduce the risk of flu by up to 60 percent during seasons when the vaccine is well-matched to most circulating strains.

Vanderbilt says, citing the Centers for Disease for Control, in some years vaccine effectiveness has dropped to 10 percent.

Researchers from several universities around the world, including the University of California, San Diego, the University of British Columbia and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will conduct an analysis of blood and tissue samples from vaccinated and infected individuals.

Coupled with artificial intelligence driven computer simulation models, they will seek to determine why some people are protected against the flu while others are not.

“These trials will be among the most comprehensive human clinical research studies ever undertaken,” said Crowe, the Ann Scott Carell Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, “They will determine how the immune system protects against different strains of influenza in different populations and geographic regions of the world, and what is required for a vaccine to generate long-term protective immunity.”

The initiative will launch a series of influenza vaccine clinical trials in globally diverse populations beginning early in 2018.

It’s being led by James Crowe Jr., M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, and C. Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

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