Pharmaceutical Companies Developing Universal Flu Vaccine

Two European pharmaceutical companies are currently close to developing a vaccine that would work for all types of influenza.

Described as the ‘holy grail’ of flu vaccines, it would protect against all strains of influenza A – the virus behind both bird flu and the nastiest outbreaks of winter flu.

Just a couple of injections could give long-lasting immunity – unlike the current vaccine which has to be given every year.

The brainchild of scientists at Cambridge biotech firm Acambis, working with Belgian researchers, the vaccine will be tested on humans for the first time in the next few months.

A similar universal flu vaccine, being developed by Swiss vaccine firm Cytos Biotechnology, could also be tested on people in 2007 – and the vaccines on the market in around five years.

That’s very cool. Another positive benefit of the type of vaccine being developed is that it’s apparently easier and cheaper to make than traditional flu vaccines. I wish both companies luck in developing their versions of the vaccine–it’d be nice if the human race could rid itself of the nastier influenzas.

Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Original Article syndicated via RSS from Outside The Beltway | OTB

  2. Isn’t this about the point we should hear a leftist screed against the evils of big pharma and how they are hurting America with their greed?

  3. Bandit says:

    Those evil corporations! Saving kids to harvest their organs and render their fat for oil!

  4. Kent G. Budge says:

    I note that the antivaxers are already jumping into the comments section for the article. Infuriating.

  5. Michael says:

    Isn’t this about the point we should hear a leftist screed against the evils of big pharma and how they are hurting America with their greed?

    Or perhaps a rightist screed against biological manipulations and how they are playing God. We both have our crazies.

  6. floyd says:

    This a one time shot? or every year,month, week or what???
    Michael; Right you both have your “crazies”. Your use of the word “screed” gives me pleasant fantasies about the combination of politicians, concrete,& deep water!

  7. floyd says:

    “”Just a couple of injections could give long-lasting immunity!””

    I missed this sentence. My bad! This will be great if it works and it is not mandatory.

  8. JorgXMcKie says:

    Why should it be mandatory? Just refuse treatment to anyone stupid enough not to take it. End of problem.

  9. Possible Medical Breakthrough…

    A British/Belgian team thinks it’s close to a universal influenza A vaccine as does another Swiss team. And they have hopes for the milder influenza B. No guarantees, but this research would save hundreds of thousands of lives yearly, if it works, ….

  10. floyd says:

    jorgXmcKie; Your apparent hive mind precludes an understanding of liberty.