OXFORD, England, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- British researchers say they've had success in their efforts to create a universal flu vaccine that could protect against all strains of the flu virus.
Current flu vaccines only work against a few kinds of flu and only for a short time, as seasonal flu evolves and changes to get around immunity provided by that year's vaccine, requiring constant research and re-vaccination, NewScientist.com reported Monday.
Several research groups, including one at Oxford University, are attempting to develop a flu vaccine out of proteins that are identical in all flu viruses in the hope this will protect people from all flu once and for all.
Oxford scientists injected one such new vaccine into 28 healthy adult volunteers, and say it had an astonishing effect on their immune systems.
White blood cells called T-cells can normally help fight off flu, but aren't quick or numerous enough to prevent infection or reliably limit disease.
The new vaccine stimulated huge numbers of T-cells, more than ever seen with other experimental vaccines, the researchers said.
"The findings are extremely encouraging in terms of the apparent efficacy of the virus and the fact that it appears to be a safe formulation," Mark Fielder, a medical microbiologist at Kingston University, told The Daily Mail.