Fast Adapting Synthetic Vaccines are the Future of the Flu
According to the science news enthusiasts and bug watchers at the CDC, the 2012-2013 flu season was particularly harsh, beginning early, running late, and spreading like wildfire. Part of the reason for the brutal flu season was the fact that flu viruses mutate and create new strains so quickly that by the time you get your flu vaccine, it’s probably already outdated.
But what if there was such a thing as a fast adapting synthetic vaccine that could be changed and personalized for different flu strains as they evolve? What sounds like science fiction is becoming science fact as synthetic biologists at the University of Massachusetts are developing flu vaccines – a process that normally takes a month or more – in 7 days. And that is a big deal in science news.
Synthetic biologists are revolutionizing the science world by creating biological materials, like live vaccines, without using the normal reproductive techniques found in nature. These particular synthetic flu vaccines were created by simply looking at a copy of a flu virus’ genetic code. Being able to create a synthetic vaccine within a week is the biggest step towards stopping harmful and sometimes deadly flu strains in recent history.
From here, the next step will be testing and approval from regulatory government agencies. If everything goes well, the synthetic vaccines should be rocking the medical and science news worlds in time for next year’s flu season.