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Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains: End of the line for endless boosters?

Still Waters

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Scientists at UC Riverside have demonstrated a new, RNA-based vaccine strategy that is effective against any strain of a virus and can be used safely even by babies or the immunocompromised.

Every year, researchers try to predict the four influenza strains that are most likely to be prevalent during the upcoming flu season. And every year, people line up to get their updated vaccine, hoping the researchers formulated the shot correctly.

The same is true of COVID vaccines, which have been reformulated to target sub-variants of the most prevalent strains circulating in the U.S.

This new strategy would eliminate the need to create all these different shots, because it targets a part of the viral genome that is common to all strains of a virus. The vaccine, how it works, and a demonstration of its efficacy in mice is described in a  paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 


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single-dose immunization with the vaccine just 2 d in advance induced full protection in neonatal and adult mutant mice lacking adaptive immunity

What happens to mice that do have functioning immune systems?

How many mice were involved in the experiment? The abstract does not say.

How many mice died? From cancer? How many died after the 90 day experiment? The abstract does not say.

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Nope.  Not the end of boosters.

The virus mutates easily.  It's still rampant among the population, though not as virulent as the first wave.  But until almost all of humanity gains immunity, you'll need boosters.

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