Do you think that the flu is not a dangerous disease? You should not, as the flu causes millions of hospitalized cases and sometimes it can lead to death.
The available vaccines are not so efficient as they have to be taken yearly. Those vaccines concentrate on the external proteins the H and N strains, as H1N1 and H3N2, the proteins stimulates the immunity system of the person which allow him or her to fight the flu by creating antibodies. Those vaccines are limited because the proteins are different in every strain and they have the ability to mutate, which allow the flu to defend itself against the usual vaccine available today.
However, there are two proteins inside the flu virus that are much more similar across strains and less liable to change over time. Nucleoprotein and matrix protein 1 are more than 90% identical in all strains of influenza A.
If used widely a universal flu vaccine could prevent pandemics, such as the swine flu outbreaks of recent years, and end the need for a seasonal flu jab as mentioned.
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are working to develop a universal influenza vaccine, and report that in recent experiments with mice, ferrets and monkeys, researchers at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center used a two-step immunization approach to elicit antibodies that attacked a variety of influenza virus strains.