History and evolution of influenza control through vaccination: from the first monovalent vaccine to universal vaccines

Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene
Vol 57, No 3 (2016)
http://www.jpmh.org/index.php/jpmh/issue/view/2016573
Article
History and evolution of influenza control through vaccination: from the first monovalent vaccine to universal vaccines
Ilaria Barberis, Puja Myles, Steven Ault, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi, Mariano Martini
Abstract
Influenza is a highly infectious airborne disease with an important epidemiological and societal burden; annual epidemics and pandemics have occurred since ancient times, causing tens of millions of deaths. A hundred years after this virus was first isolated, influenza vaccines now ensure effective protection, and the preparations used display good safety and tolerability profiles.
Innovative tools, such as recombinant technologies and intra-dermal devices, are currently being investigated in order to elicit good immunity even in the event of unforeseen changes in the virus due to drift and antigenic shift or the co-circulation different viral strains.
The recurring mutations of influenza strains has prompted the recent introduction of a quadrivalent inactivated vaccine. In the near future, scientific research will strive to produce a long-lasting universal vaccine containing an antigen that is not subject to genetic modifications, and surveillance systems will be implemented in order to exactly predict circulating strains.