Oral flu vaccine may be more effective than flu shots

Results from a new study conducted by the International Vaccine Institute in Korea have shown that an oral flu vaccine may be more effective than flu shots.
The researchers administered a specific flu antigen under the tongue of mice, which prevented the mice from becoming infected with multiple flu viruses, including the avian flu and swine flu, ABC News reports.
The matrix protein 2 antigen has already been found to protect against most strains of the flu and is also contained in the injectable type of vaccine. While flu virus strains change yearly, the M2 protein remains the same in most of the viruses. This suggests the protein could hold the key to creating a universal oral vaccine.
The protein works more effectively in boosting lung immunity in the experimental oral vaccine than it does in the shot.
“It’s a fascinating concept in part because this appears to be a valid phenomenon, at least in mice,” William Schaffner, a professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said, according to ABC News. “Why it is the oral as opposed to the injection that works is a mystery.”
The findings were published in the November issue of PLoS ONE and suggest that a universal oral flu vaccine may be in the works. If the research does translate to humans, it may be able to offer a stronger form of the vaccine that could withstand some of the changes in the flu strain occurring from year to year. The research is still in the early stages.
“While we’re waiting for this great new vaccine, let’s all get protected with the one we have,” Schaffner said, according to ABC News.