Ditching annual flu shots for a single stick that can protect year after year may be even harder to do than scientists thought—thanks to our own bamboozled immune systems.
The major point of the study was to determine if regular, annual flu shots could actually be compromising the body’s ability to target the stalk. If a vaccine was released that targeted something else, that may well give the body the leg-up it needs to out-compete the native-grown immune response.
Remember that a vaccine isn’t telling the body how to react. The vaccine merely introduces to the immune system some aspect of the virus so that when the virus really shows up, the machinery is primed and ready to go.
Unfortunately for us, the destroyed bits of virus that make up the current flu shot are reacted to by going for the easiest target, i.e. the heads. A vaccine consisting of just the stalks with something that stimulates the immune cells to grab on, would do the trick. But that’s where the hard work lies.