Influenza or flu has affected billions of people worldwide. Influenza viruses cause more than 5 lakh deaths annually. India has been burdened with influenza too. With each passing year, the number of people falling ill and deaths due to flu have been increasing substantially. However, amid this, a potentially groundbreaking seasonal flu vaccine has been developed by a team from Oxford University, as per a report by the Indian Express. This new vaccine will be tested on around 2,000 humans living in Berkshire and Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom of the age 65 and above. Let’s take a look at how this clinical trial will be a significant one for the world and for India:
What kinds of influenza will the new vaccine target?
Influenza or flu is a viral seasonal respiratory disease to which older people and young children are the most vulnerable. As per the report, influenza viruses are classified into A, B, C and D types. Out of which A and B are known to cause seasonal epidemics; C causes mild respiratory illness, but not an epidemic. Influenza D affects cattle. According to Oxford University, the new vaccine will target influenza viruses A, B and C.
How is the new vaccine expected to help India?
If the vaccine passes all tests of safety and immunogenicity, it will be a breakthrough. In India, the total number of cases until October 1 this year had crossed 36,000 countrywide, and the number of deaths was close to 2,000, reported the Indian Express. Dr A K Tahlan, director, Central Research Institute, Kasauli was quoted as saying that it will further help all countries struggling to tackle the worldwide problem of influenza.
Why is the new vaccine significant?
It is believed by the researchers that the new vaccine will provide stronger protection against the flu because of its different mechanism. It could also reduce the severity and duration of flu. The developers feel the vaccine could be a game changer for global health.