Vaccine-resistant viral mutations in the flu identified: 3 things to know

Flu vaccines administered during the 2014 to 2015 season were largely ineffective at preventing the spread of the virus. This appears to be because the vaccine for that season was not prepared to take on mutations within the virus, according to research from the Philadelphia-based Wistar Institute.

When researchers prepare each year's flu vaccine, it is designed to protect against specific strains they expect to be widely circulated. The vaccine will produce specific antibodies to those strains if a person becomes infected with them. So long at the right antibodies in the vaccine are present to combat the strain a person is exposed to, they should be protected from the flu that season.

Here are three things to know about the viral mutations.

1. The researchers identified 10 different viral mutations that circulated in the 2014 to 2015 season. These mutations made the circulating flu strains differ from the strains the vaccines were prepared to inoculate against.

2. The World Health Organization has recommended that the seasonal flu vaccine be appropriately updated for the upcoming 2015 to 2016 season to account for the mutations.

3. Research is currently underway to determine whether antibodies from the new vaccine strain will have the desired effect on the strains of influenza that will likely circulate next season.

More articles on infection control:

Plague kills teen in Colorado: 5 things to know
Endoscopes and MDROs: How to avoid an outbreak
CMS data collection rules may detract from infection control  


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