A new company in Madison is taking on the fight against influenza. The medical company Flu-Gen is working on a new "universal" flu vaccine aimed at protecting against a wide range of flu strains.
The new vaccine was designed with the help of Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a UW researcher and flu expert. Rather than using needles and syringes to inject a dead virus into the body the vaccine sprays a live virus into the nose that cannot multiply.
"The immune system is alerted as if you are truly infected, but because the virus can't replicate, you get no flu symptoms," Kawaoka said. "The idea is to create an immune response that is similar to a real infection, without making you sick."
The news comes as China deals with the growing problem of a new strain of the bird flu virus. According to the World Health Organization, the new strain has infected 120 people and killed 20 so far.