Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Universal Flu Vaccine

Andrew Pollock discusses new efforts at a universal flu vaccine including targeting of influenza's M2 protein and hemagglutinin spike base. Such vaccines are unlikely to stop flu's myriad forms but might significantly reduce the number of cases and mitigate its virulence. That would be an extraordinary victory against one of humanity's great adversaries.

No such vaccine is in the works for the pandemic of conventional wisdom. Victims include genius epidemiologist and internet magazine publisher Tina Brown who recently suggested government swine flu hysteria might be an effort to "wag the swine". Now that's Evelyn Waugh-level satire.

(image credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images via nytimes.com)