Early last year researchers at McMaster University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York announced that a universal flu vaccine could be on the horizon.

The researchers are looking at a new class of antibodies that are capable of neutralizing a wide range of influenza A viruses.

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“Unlike seasonal vaccines, which must be given annually, this type of vaccine would only be given once, and would have the ability to protect against all strains of flu, even when the virus mutates,” said Matthew Miller, an assistant professor in McMaster’s Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “This would prevent the occurrence of flu pandemics and poor vaccine efficiency in the case of mismatches."

Miller's lab is one of only a handful in Canada that makes its own flu. The team there grows the virus inside eggs and uses it to test new vaccines.