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Long-term, universal flu shot on horizon

Dan Vergano and Liz Szabo
USA TODAY [1]
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains may be within reach in the next five years, replacing annual shots developed for specifics flu viruses, the chief of the National Institutes of Health predicts.

Francis Collins told USA TODAY’s Editorial Board on Tuesday that he is “guardedly optimistic” about development of a long-term shot to replace the one “you’d have to renew every year.”

About 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu every year, and an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 die, making the flu one of the chief causes of preventable death in the USA.

Collins cited the long-term flu shot in a wide-ranging discussion of many advances coming from NIH research. Amid budget debates now underway in Washington, D.C. that could also trim NIH’s $31billion budget, he made the case for research investments that improve the nation’s health.

Full story here. [1]