Researchers develop new 'universal' vaccine to fight flu

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ATLANTA, GA - Researchers at Georgia State University announced a new universal vaccine which offers possible new protection against influenza A viruses.

The new universal vaccine reportedly differs from current seasonal vaccines in that it would not need to be updated each year to match the viruses predicted in the coming flu season.  

Seasonal vaccines, researchers say, target the exterior part of the virus's surface protein, which requires frequent updates. The universal vaccine, they say, would instead target the interior of the virus's protein, known as the stalk.      

The stalk is less likely to change, and is more likely to accept universal protection.

At this point, researchers say their research has produced promising results in vaccinating mice.   

They will next test the universal vaccine on ferrets, which have systems more similar to humans.  So far, there is no timetable on when the universal vaccine might be tested on humans.

This year's flu season has been ne of the more active seasons of recent memory, with the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases calling the season "very active."

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