The foundation stone was laid: A Dutch-American collaboration published in Science the first proof of concept that we could replace the seasonal flu shots with a vaccine that recognizes almost every subtype.
The influenza virus is incredibly variable. A yearly refreshment of flu shots is necessary to provide a moderate protection against it, and subtypes that are not covered by the vaccine can emerge and spread rapidly. This phenomenon was evident in the 2009 flu pandemic, when the swine flu subtype killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide.
But we could soon be able to keep the highly adaptable virus under control. Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US and the Netherlands based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson jointly found a way to produce antibodies that neutralize a wide range of influenza subtypes.
The starting point of the research was the fact that some people are capable of making super-antibodies that target a site on the influenza virus that does not mutate rapidly.