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The Flu Outbreak: We Need a Better Vaccine

September 20, 2019


MARC LIPSITCH: For flu,
we’re used to the idea that a good flu vaccine
is about 60% protective. A not so good one is
maybe 10% protective. So we’ve just gotten
used to this idea of mediocre protection. We also have the
problem that it has to target the right
strain every year, and that we have to use
a combination of expert opinion and computerized
evolutionary studies to try to figure out
what strain to put in, and we don’t always
get it right. Even when we get it right, it’s
not always effective, highly effective, as yonatan said,
and we don’t produce it fast. It takes, as you
mentioned, six months often in eggs, which is an old
fashioned way to produce them. And then we have to
repeat it every year. So this is really not
the kind of vaccine that you would design if
you could– if you could.

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