A SINGLE shot universal flu vaccine that lasts a lifetime could be available within two years.
Canadian infectious diseases expert Dr Tobi Kollmann is leading a team of researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute, as part of the Human Vaccines Project’s efforts to develop one shot vaccines that provide lifelong protection from the disease for all people.
The Telethon Kids Institute, with support from the PCH Foundation, will lead the paediatric component for the project, a global research program decoding the human immune system to accelerate the development of vaccines and immunotherapies.
Speaking on ABC 720 this morning Professor Kollman said vaccinations were the single most successful medical intervention in history.
“The number of lives that have been saved through vaccines is staggering,” he said.
“It has been exactly 100 years that the Spanish flu killed more people than all world wars combined in one year.
“We still don’t have a vaccine that works to protect us all against all strains of influenza.
“Telethon Kids has seen that as a need and has put their focus on that.”
Professor Kollman said a single shot vaccine given early in life promised lifelong protection.
“The first flu is forever,” he said.
“The type of flu that you have been exposed to, be it vaccine or infection, will set you on a path to always respond in that manner forever.
“If you immunise a baby before they get exposed to influenza with a vaccine that protects you from all strains you have them set for life.
“Imagine in a country where you have barely any medical facilities, if you can protect with just one shot you will save incrementally more lives.
Professor Kollman said within two years a single shot vaccine that lasts a lifetime should be available for most major global diseases.
He added a single immunisation that protects against all vaccine-preventable diseases could also be a reality.
“The only real hurdle is money,” he said.
“With dedicated funding to implement our findings we should be able to make this a reality.”