5-speed listening (Level 5)

Scientists close to influenza vaccine






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Scientists are getting closer to developing a vaccine that will give life-long protection against influenza. This is good news for millions of people around the world who go to the doctor for their annual flu jab. Two research teams tested new drugs on animals and both had promising results. Trials will soon begin on humans to test the new vaccine. A flu expert told the BBC that: "This is a leap forward compared to anything done recently. They have good animal data, not just in mice but in ferrets and monkeys too." He added that: "It's a very good stepping stone."

Influenza kills up to half a million people every year. Finding a vaccine is difficult because the virus is always changing. Doctors have to guess which types of the virus are likely to cause the most infections, and then create a new version of the vaccine to fight it. The success rate of most flu vaccines is very low because there is so much guesswork. Vaccines in the U.S. reduced the risk of catching flu by just 23 per cent last year. The website Inverse.com said the research could help create vaccines for, "other viruses that mutate rapidly, like HIV or the common cold".

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