Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

WASHINGTON (AP) — A century after history’s worst flu pandemic, scientists are hunting for a super-shot for the next super-flu.

Stronger vaccines could guard against the next pandemic and ordinary winter influenza at the same time.

That’s a tall order.

Flu viruses constantly mutate just enough to beat our best defenses. That’s why we need a flu vaccine every fall. But if a never-before-seen flu strain were to cause another pandemic, those annual shots wouldn’t help.

The new focus is a universal flu vaccine that could protect against most strains of the virus.

Labs around the country have research underway. If it pans out, it might eventually replace the annual fall shot in favor of one every few years — or maybe even a one-time childhood dose.

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