Researchers are encouraged by early human trials of a vaccination that holds the promise of destroying influenza pandemics. The vaccine is made by Cambridge-based Acambis and holds several advantages over existing flu vaccines.
It would not need to be reformulated on an annual basis to match the predominant strains of influenza, and it would not need to be cultured in fertilized chicken eggs; thus, it could be stockpiled for use when pandemic strains emerge.
Perhaps most importantly, existing vaccines attack portions of the flu virus that mutate rapidly, which can render the vaccine ineffective. Acambis identified an unchanging portion of the virus to attack, making it effective against any flu virus.