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Science and Technology

Ohio ag researchers work on a universal flu vaccine
Keys include on what animals it is tested

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Researchers in Ohio are developing a new flu vaccine that could provide protection against a variety of dangerous strains.

The project involves testing in animals that can transmit the disease -  swine and birds.

WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on work in Wooster to find a “universal” flu vaccine.

LISTEN: A universal flu vaccine

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 The project at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center tackles two questions: How to create a vaccine against all strains of the flu, and how to test it in animals that transmit the disease. Some of the more deadly flu strains come from swine and birds, but vaccines are generally tested in mice. Lead researcher Chang Won Lee is trying to change that.

“We believe that mice and other small lab animals are not the best model to develop influenza vaccine.”

With the help of a $2.2 million, five-year grant through the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Lee is developing a new type of vaccine that gives long-term immunity against a variety of viruses. He’s using a protein that occurs across many strains. His other innovation is testing it in the top two types of animals that transmit flu to people, pigs and chickens.

“The pathogen can transmit between animal and human back and forth, so it is important to understand the full immunology of both human and animal.”


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