Live vaccinations could fight flu more efficiently

A new, quicker and more efficient manner for developing vaccines against flu strains has been developed by scientists.

Vaccine production against the flu is usually slowed by the ability of the bug that causes the flu to change its genetic code, requiring scientists to change vaccines to fight each new iteration.

University of Miami computer scientist Dimitris Papamichail and researchers from Stony Brook University, however, have develop a new manufacturing method to fight new strains, reports.

The newly created method utilizes computer algorithms created by Papamichail and his fellow researchers to design viruses that serve as living vaccinations. These living vaccinations are then synthesized to fit the requirements to fight the disease.

“We have been able to produce an entirely novel method to systematically design vaccines using computer algorithms,” Papamichail, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Miami's College of Arts and Sciences, said. "Our approach is not only useful for influenza; it is also applicable to a wide range of viruses."

Papamichail added that the likelihood of the living vaccinations reverting themselves to a strain capable of producing a virulent strain is extremely unlikely.

The journal Nature Biotechnology reports online that the new technique has been dubbed Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering.