Universal Flu Vaccine on the Horizon?

Better Protection from All Strains

A new universal flu vaccine has reached trial stage in the UK, offering hope of a more effective immunisation for the future.

This is very welcome news for those who criticise the limitations of the current vaccine.

The standard flu jab is remade each year based on a prediction of the most likely strains to hit for the season, so it does not give full protection against all forms of flu. The 2016-17 vaccination cut the risk of flu in under 65s by about 40%.

Supporters of flu vaccination say that even that is better than no protection at all, but the universal flu vaccine would work differently, targeting the unchanging proteins within the core of the virus, so that it could protect against all strains of flu – including bird and swine flu as well as human.

The vaccine has been developed by a team at University of Oxford. Professor Gilbert told the BBC:

“We expect that the protection from the new vaccine will last longer than a year, but we will need to test that with more clinical trials in the future.

“It is possible that, in future, vaccinations against flu might be given at longer intervals – maybe every five years instead of every year. But first we have to test protection in the first flu season following vaccination.”

500 volunteers are being recruited from the Oxfordshire and Berkshire area. They will receive the new universal vaccine or a placebo alongside the regular flu vaccine. The trial will take two years and then further studies will be required before the vaccine can be licensed.

So while a universal vaccination is good news, it won’t be available for a few years.  In the meantime, immunisation against flu is the best defence against a highly infectious and a very unpleasant disease.

2017-18 Flu Season

The NHS has already warned that 2017-18 is expected to be a particularly bad winter for flu, as the UK tends to follow trends in Australia and New Zealand; which have seen the worst outbreak in many years.

Experts believe that the 2017-18 flu jab should give good protection against the strain which affected Australia and New Zealand.  Flu vaccination is highly recommended for those groups deemed to be ‘at risk’ due to age or other medical conditions and these groups can receive it free of charge under the NHS.

However, there are many other patients who choose to pay privately for the flu jab in order to avoid the debilitating illness.

Flu Jabs in London

Private flu vaccination is available at The Smart Clinics based in Brompton Cross (North London) and Wandsworth (South London). Their private clinics offer generous appointment times and extended opening hours to suit busy schedules.

On behalf of The Smart Clinics, a spokesperson explained:

“Flu can be a very nasty disease, which can leave patients feeling run-down and below par for weeks after. The flu jab is a fast, safe and effective means of ensuring protection from the inconvenience and unpleasantness caused by the virus.

“We highly recommend the flu jab for all patients, not just those deemed at risk.”

The Smart Clinics

The Smart Clinics is best known for its unique membership based private GP service with access to a friendly team of experienced doctors, which entitles individuals, families and corporate members to unlimited GP access for a monthly fee. Private dentistry is also available as an optional extra.

However, non-members are also welcome to access The Smart Clinics’ GPs, nurses and healthcare professionals on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.

The Smart Clinics brings together a host of medical professionals offering patients high quality health services in a choice of accessible London clinic locations.

For more information contact us on info@thesmartclinics.co.uk or call  020 7052 0070.

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