Junior fellow researchers highlight importance of vaccination

The upcoming flu season inspires a group of young vaccine researchers in Gothenburg to encourage people at risk to go and get their shot. The vaccine is a safe protection against potential serious consequences, they state. They are six graduate students and recent PhDs from different countries, working within The Mucosal Immunobiology and Vaccine Center (MIVAC) at the Institute of biomedicine. They are also part of the European research network UniVacFlu working to develop a universal influenza vaccine.

The vaccine being developed is to be taken as a drink or as a nasal spray. By avoiding injecting the vaccine, medical training won’t be required and distribution in large populations will be facilitated. It remains another several years of research before the universal vaccine could be ready – and when it is finished it will probably not be able to provide total protection against the flu, but it will alleviate symptoms and shorten the time you have to spend in bed.

Risk groups should take the vaccine Most people can handle a flu well, but there are groups of people who may become seriously ill by influenza, and who may be at risk of developing pneumonia, heart failure, or other severe sequelae. In Sweden there is at least one and a half million people who belong to one of these risk groups, and who are encouraged to get vaccinated every year. Such risk groups are all elderly aged over 65, as well as pregnant women and children with multiple disabilities. People with chronic heart or lung disease, intractable diabetes, impaired defense against infections, chronic liver or kidney failure, those with extreme obesity (BMI over 40) or neuromuscular disease that affects breathing are also encouraged to take the vaccine.

Web page: www.mivac.se

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