UMass Medical School conducts research on vaccine to end the flu

Researchers at Worcester-based University of Massachusetts Medical School are hoping to find a way to completely eradicate influenza, according to

"That's the hope," said Robert W. Finberg, MD, chairman of UMass Memorial's Department of Medicine. "If we can eliminate the virus, we'd be living in a much healthier place."

In October, Dr. Finberg and his team were given a $10 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to research better ways to predict the flu virus and its consistent transformation. "The difference with the flu is that it evolves very rapidly — it changes itself," Dr. Finberg added.

The researchers are primarily focusing on genetic sequencing. The influenza virus is able to infect more people through its consistent sequence changes. The UMass team hopes to produce a counter vaccine by predicting the virus' potential sequence changes.

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