Universal flu vaccine predicted by 2014

A universal influenza vaccine could be available by 2014 if a group of scientists are successful in their attempts and it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Because different strains of the flu gain predominance every year, the goal of creating an effective universal vaccine has eluded scientists, who are compelled to predict which strains will circulate in a given season, according to IBITimes.com.

The efficacy of the seasonal flu vaccine also varies from year to year, but it is usually between 30 and 60 percent effective. Occasionally, scientists are wrong in their predictions and the strains that are thought to be most prevalent when the vaccine is manufactured are not when the flu season arrives.

An effective universal flu vaccine would have to train the immune system to recognize the most common elements of all flu strains, which also could mean a higher protection rate and a longer lasting vaccine, IBITimes.com reports.

The Israel-based BiondVax Pharmaceuticals is currently developing a universal vaccine that it said will be ready for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval by 2014. Seek, a London-based pharmaceutical company, says that it could have its universal vaccine ready in the next five years.

Other researchers are convinced that it could be another decade before a truly universal and effective flu vaccine emerges, but they agree it will happen.