Most doses of vaccine are made in a production process that involves growing viruses in chicken eggs where they can mutate and be less effective. Most illnesses this winter have been caused by a nasty kind of flu called Type A H3N2. The vaccine was only 25 percent effective against that type.
Getty Images Every few weeks, it seems, an asteroid approaches close enough to the Earth that people worry about an extinction-level impact. End of the world as we know it, right?
Well, yes, but maybe we have something even scarier to worry about. In a TED TalkBill Gates explained that the biggest threat to human life today isn't asteroids or nuclear bombs but something smaller and more insidious: His warning then seems prescient this year, because the vaccine for the current flu season proved ineffective, resulting in more deaths that usual.
That's worrying because a lethal strain of flu can kill millions, as it did in the pandemic. Yes, today we have flu shots, but flu evolves more quickly than bacterial diseases. While scientists create a vaccine for each year's flu season, they guesstimate which strain will spread, making each year's vaccine hit or miss.
How big is the potential threat? According to a recent article in The Atlanticwhile a nuclear bomb dropped on New York City might kill 10 million people, experts say a flu pandemic might kill as many as 33 million people in days.
Absent such a vaccine, though, a widely lethal flu pandemic may currently be inevitable. There are areas of France that still haven't recovered. So let's hope that Gates can be as effective at eradicating flu as he's been in reducing deaths from malaria. Otherwise we might end up paraphrasing T.
Elliot and discover that "This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with a sniffle. Apr 27, Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.Jan 31, · Flu After Your Doctor May Miss It By Kathleen Doheny January 31, -- Older adults always get hit hard with flu, with up to 85% of flu deaths usually happening in those age 65 and older.
Oct 10, · View Navigation NPR NPR NPR Music NPR Books NPR About and last season's H1N1 strain hit young adults particularly hard.
Flu and pneumonia combined consistently rank among the top 10 causes of. For quadrivalent vaccines, the recommendation was to add B/Brisbane/60/like virus.
FDA Advisers Recommend Overhaul of Flu Vaccine - Medscape - Mar 05, Roche Touts New Flu.
Flu vaccine for ineffective against upcoming severe flu season, experts warn. Posted by: Vaccine development is a “hit-or-miss” proposition. Flu vaccine for ineffective against upcoming severe flu season, experts warn;.
The flu season devastated communities with a number of deaths popping up all over the country. In light of these events, researchers are already getting started on a vaccine for the flu . Hit or Miss: Flu Vaccines Essay effectiveness of the vaccine is variable due to multiple strains of the Influenza virus and the difficulty in predicting the .