Flu, Flu Vaccines, and Why We Need to Do Better
Influenza (or flu) is a huge global problem, 1 billion people – 1/7th of the world’s population get infected with it each year. The virus doesn’t only infect people, it infects many different animals including chickens and pigs and can have devastating effects on farms where these animals are raised. Our body has evolved ways (called the immune response) to kill the influenza virus if we are infected with it and to stop us getting re-infected with the same virus. Through the power of vaccines, we can harness the immune response to protect us against influenza. The problem with the influenza virus is that it is sneaky and can change its coat so our body doesn’t recognise it. Current research is looking at ways to overcome this sneaky virus and reduce the number of people who get sick from influenza.