The US National Institutes of Health announced the start of the first phase of clinical trials of a potential universal vaccine against influenza. This is reported by Gizmodo.

The safety and immune response of the experimental vaccine will be compared with the typical annual flu vaccine. The new vaccine was developed by specialists of the Vaccine Research Center of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH). It was created on the basis of mRNA, similar to the first generation of vaccines against Covid-19.

An NIH trial with Duke University is currently underway in North Carolina. They plan to involve up to 50 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 49, who will be divided into several groups. Among the three groups, the optimal dose of the vaccine will be determined, which will eventually be given to the fourth group. The fifth group will be a kind of “control” and will receive a standard seasonal flu vaccine. After vaccination, volunteers will be monitored for a year.

“A universal influenza vaccine would be a major public health achievement and could eliminate the need for both annual development of seasonal influenza vaccines, as well as the need for patients to get a flu shot each year,” said Acting NIAID Director Hugh Auchincloss in a statement.

He emphasized that some strains of the influenza virus have significant pandemic potential. So a universal flu vaccine could be an important line of defense against the spread of a future flu pandemic.

As you know, seasonal flu is a serious threat to public health. For example, in America, before the appearance of Covid-19, it was the deadliest infectious disease that was registered here every year.