Efforts to Improve the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine.
Influenza viruses infect approximately 20% of the global population annually, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. While there are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved antiviral drugs for combating the disease, vaccination remains the best strategy for preventing infection. Due to the rapid mutation rate of influenza viruses, vaccine formulations need to be updated every year to provide adequate protection. In recent years, a great amount of effort has been focused on the development of a universal vaccine capable of eliciting broadly protective immunity. While universal influenza vaccines clearly have the best potential to provide long-lasting protection against influenza viruses, the timeline for their development, as well as the true universality of protection they afford, remains uncertain. In an attempt to reduce influenza disease burden while universal vaccines are developed and tested, many groups are working on a variety of strategies to improve the efficacy of the standard seasonal vaccine. This review will highlight the different techniques and technologies that have been, or are being, developed to improve the seasonal vaccination efforts against influenza viruses.
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