New universal flu vaccine to prevent global pandemics

London, Oct 1: Scientists have designed a new generation of universal flu vaccines that protects against majority of the known viral strains and help prevent future global pandemics that sccould kill millions.

The researchers devised two universal vaccines. One can protect against up to 88 per cent of known flu strains worldwide in a single shot, spelling the end of the winter flu season.

Another vaccine covers 95 per cent of known US influenza strains, they said.

"Every year we have a round of flu vaccination, where we choose a recent strain of flu as the vaccine, hoping that it will protect against next year's strains. We know this method is safe, and that it works reasonably well most of the time," said Derek Gatherer of Lancaster University in the UK.

"However, sometimes it doesn't work - as in the H3N2 vaccine failure in winter 2014-2015 - and even when it does it is immensely expensive and labour-intensive," Gatherer said.

"Also, these yearly vaccines give us no protection at all against potential future pandemic flu," he said.