The best part of the flu vaccine is that it protects against seasonal influenza, and the worst part of the vaccine is getting the actual shot. According to a recent INVERSE article, the annual shot may be a thing of the past thanks to mRNA technology. The reason we need a new shot each year is because influenza morphs to evade vaccines and our immune systems. However, mRNA (yes, the same technology used for the COVID vaccines) could be the solution for a multi-year vaccine.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Icahn School of Medicine and Mount Sinai, and other institutions have created an mRNA_based influenza vaccine that focuses on the four proteins that different strains of influenza have in common. The proteins include neuraminidase, nucleoprotein, and matrix protein 2, and they all enable the virus to replicate itself. The team was able to take genetic code that can’t alter DNA and instruct it to make a specific protein that the immune system can learn to recognize and target. The concept isn’t fully developed though, and still needs further research and clinical trials, so head out and get your seasonal flu shot this year knowing it may soon be less frequent.