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12:28 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Local Researchers Get Grant to Study Flu

Credit scientificamerican.com

A $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow researchers at the University of Rochester to continue developing ways to make the flu vaccine more effective.

David Topham is co-director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence. It's a collaborative network of universities, including the U of R. 

Topham says the current vaccine, while it helps many people avoid getting the flu, isn't 100 percent effective. "New technology and new approaches to studying the virus have led to an evolving understanding that the viruses that may be circulating in a given year, while they are a "good match" for the vaccine, may in fact have mutations that allow it to escape vaccine immunity, and that's one of the things we'd like to test."

Topham says even though we often take the flu pretty casually, because it comes every year, it can be a fairly serious illness, especially for the very young and old and those with chronic illnesses.