Pitt researchers work to develop single vaccine to fight flu strains
Pitt researchers say they could develop a vaccine for all strains of flu — including those not yet in existence — within the next decade, cutting down on the need for annual shots.
Ted M. Ross and Pitt’s Center for Vaccine Research, which created a vaccine for bird flu, will work in conjunction with vaccine-maker Sanofi Pasteur, the largest vaccine-focused company in the world, to work to create the product.
By using the general genetic code of influenza rather than mixing inactivated strains of the virus, the team hopes to create a vaccine that will cover all strains of the flu, not only a given season’s.
Ross and his team say their vaccine could last far longer in patients than the traditional cure because of its general nature. They also say it could take as few as four months to produce while the traditional vaccine can take up to a year to manufacture.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that annual flu-associated deaths in the United States can range from 3,000 to 49,000 depending on the strength of a given year’s strain.
As of mid-February, about 132.1 million doses of the 2011-12 season’s flu shot were distributed in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Adam Wagner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7956 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Adam Wagner
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 11:50 a.m.