New flu vaccine could mean the end of annual shots

Queensland researchers will lead a trial of a game-changing flu vaccine that could mean the end of the annual flu jab.

Conventional flu vaccines are regularly modified to target virus mutations, but the new vaccine trialled by Brisbane-based Mater Research could provide broader protection for longer.

Mater director of infectious diseases Paul Griffin said the “universal” flu vaccine, named OVX836, would target parts of the virus that were less susceptible to mutations.

“Some structures of the influenza virus are more stable … OVX836 is designed to target the internal nucleoprotein – a highly conserved antigen – that is more conservative and far less susceptible to mutations,” he said.

Dr Griffin said the new vaccine could provide durable protection that would not need to be updated as often.

Australia has had more than 40,000 lab-confirmed cases of influenza and 44 deaths so far this year.

“We’ve had a big start to the annual flu season, and continue to battle vaccine fatigue and complacency,” Dr Griffin said.

“If this trial proves to be successful, it could be a real game-changer – the vaccine won’t need to be updated every year, which means we won’t need an annual flu vaccination.

“It could dramatically improve vaccine uptake.”


Robyn Wuth
(Australian Associated Press)


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