Virus

This flu season has been especially bad , around 31.5 people out of 100000 in the USA have been hospitalized due to it . Flu vaccines saved an estimated forty thousand American lives between the years of 2005 and 2014, but they are not good enough.The vaccine used during the 2017-2018 flu season was only 43 percent effective against the predominant influenza A H3N2 strain .

 

Flu viruses are classified by the numbers after the H and the N . The H stands for Hemagglutinin and the N stands for Neuraminidase . This year’s H3N2 is especially bad because of two reasons . The first reason is that H3N2 mutates especially fast . Regular flu viruses mutate in around 1 year , but H3N2 mutates in half of that time . Because of that , in the 8 months it takes to make the vaccine most likely the virus will already have mutated . The second reason is that it does not work well when it is grown in chicken eggs which were the most used source of vaccines for nearly 90 years .

 

There are 4 types of vaccines namely Live-attenuated vaccines , Inactivated vaccines , Subunit vaccines , and Toxoid vaccines . Live-attenuated vaccines are made of weakened forms of the disease in question . Inactivated vaccines are made from dead viruses and only give limited protection against them , which is why you need to get booster shots every once in a while . Subunit vaccines are made of pieces of the virus which gives your body a very strong immunity against the virus but does not have the same risk as live viruses . That makes Subunit vaccines much more safe to give to people who have immunodeficiencies or people who have long term health issues . Toxoid vaccines teach the immune system to fight off a toxin the virus produces instead of the virus itself .

 

Hopefully this horrible flu season will be over soon . Almost for certain , better vaccines will be created and maybe sometime in the future , most deceases will be eradicated .

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