UGA says it's close to creating flu vaccine for all strains

ATHENS, Ga. — Researchers at the University of Georgia tell Channel 2 Action News they are getting closer to human trials for a universal flu vaccine.

Unlike current flu shots, which target specific flu strains, a universal vaccine would protect people from all strains.

"What we want to do is come up with a method where we can have lots of different strains included in the vaccine," said UGA infectious disease specialist Dr. Ted Ross.

Ross and his team have been working on a universal vaccine for about a decade. They've had successful trials in mice and ferrets.

Monday, he confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that they're in the process of selecting candidates for human trials, which could begin in 2019.


"Anytime we go from small animals into humans, it's usually a big step. So there's regulatory involved from the FDA.   We have to get safety protocols approved," Ross said.

At first, the goal is produce a vaccine that lasts a decade, then eventually one that lasts a lifetime.

UGA also is extending its partnership with the world's largest manufacturer of influenza vaccines for two years.
"They'll be the ones that help bring us to the clinic and eventually to the marketplace," Ross said.

If and when there is federal approval for human testing for the universal flu vaccine, there will be testing sites throughout the U.S., including one in Athens.