Flu season may peak in coming weeks, FDA chief says

The flu may peak in coming weeks after a particularly bad season, said Food as well as also Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

“I want to be careful. About a week ago we said the item had peaked, as well as also right now the item looks like we have a couple more weeks. the item should peak around February,” Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” coming from the entire world Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The flu is usually widespread within the U.S. right right now. Healthy people have died coming from influenza This specific year, a reminder that will the common virus can be a killer. One problem that will causes the flu to spread is usually people with less-severe symptoms going out instead of staying home, Gottlieb said. Pressure to go to the office as well as also work while sick is usually one way germs spread.

This specific year’s flu vaccine hasn’t been particularly effective because the strain chosen mutated during development in chicken eggs, Gottlieb said. Research published within the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November supported that will.

Scientists are exploring completely new ways to manufacture influenza vaccines, such as growing the virus in cells. However, the process is usually more expensive as well as also includes a lower yield than the traditional method of using chicken eggs, Gottlieb said.

“The holy grail is usually a universal vaccine that will will elicit a T-cell response so not bad against any strain of influenza so we’re out of This specific business of trying to guess what the predominant strain will be,” he said. T-cells stimulate the immune response to foreign bodies.

right now, the FDA meets every February to choose what to put into the year’s flu shot based on recommendations coming from the entire world Health Organization. the item includes three or four strains, since multiple viral strains can circulate throughout the season.

Scientists are trying different methods to create a universal vaccine.

Vaccitech, which spun out coming from the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, is usually testing a universal vaccine in clinical trials. the item goes after the bottom part of the protein on flu viruses to boost T-cell response, rather than the traditional antibody response. GV, the venture arm of Google parent Alphabet, is usually an investor.

the item’s unclear when a universal flu shot may enter the market, Gottlieb said. nevertheless he says the item’s going to be more expensive than what’s on the market right now.

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