Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis have been awarded a $3.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Health to study influenza.
Influenza kills about 60,000 people every year in the United States. Today’s flu vaccines protect us from flu viruses for only a few months, and sometimes, don’t even last through the flu season.
Principal investigator Ali Ellebedy, PhD and colleagues will compare how people’s immune systems respond to the flu vaccine, which is short-lived, versus the yellow-fever vaccine, which provides lifelong immunity, to better understand how vaccines elicit long-lasting immune responses.
The study results could help researchers figure out how to design a flu vaccine that’s effectiveness doesn’t fade over time. This could eliminate the need to create annual flu vaccines — a costly and time-consuming undertaking in which millions of doses must be manufactured and distributed to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices nationwide.