Wednesday, February 25, 2015


     This is flu season. The time period where everyone is getting sick and indirectly spreading it to others. Usually around October, there are ads everywhere trying to convince people to get the flu shot. The flu  causes the antibodies in the body to develop about two weeks after vaccination which is supposed to provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. There are several kinds of vaccines available. The traditional flu vaccines are meant to protect against three different flu viruses, which are referred to as "trivalent vaccines”. Trivalent vaccines protects against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.
   How affective the flu vaccine can actually be, ranges widely from season to season. The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. Two major factors that play a role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1)characteristics of the person being vaccinated (age and health), and 2) the similarity or "match" between the flu viruses and the flu vaccine is designed to protect against.
     There are new studies that proved that this year's flu vaccines are  23 percent less effective against this year's predominant strain, H3N2. It turns out that the vaccine doesn't offer much protection due to the fact that H3N2 has mutated since the vaccine was created and manufactured. The mutations are called "drift". Vaccines are made months in advance so often do not protect well against drifted viruses although they may provide a little of what's called cross protection.

   Doctors who were participating in the U.S. Flu VE Network interviewed their patients. The patients were eligible for the study if they were at least 6 months old and had an acute respiratory illness with a cough, and had not yet taken any flu medicines, like Tamiflu or Relenza. Researchers used a genetic test to see whether their patients had the flu and which strain. They also asked volunteers whether they had gotten a flu shot or flu mist vaccine at least two weeks before they became sick. As of January 2, 2015, 2,321 children and adults had joined the study. It was found that 49% of the people who tested positive for the flu had been vaccinated, along with a slightly higher percentage – 56% – of those who tested negative
    Vaccinated people may be more vulnerable than usual to the flu,so  CDC is recommending that doctors use two antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza to treat flu and in some cases to prevent it.Tamiflu and Relenza are prescription medicines used to treat the flu in people starting as two weeks old who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days. This medication can also reduce the chance of getting the flu in people 1 year and older. It does not prevent bacterial infections that may happen with the flu nor is a substitute for an annual flu vaccination.Giving them to people within a day or two of infection can keep them out of the hospital and reduce how long they're sick for.

Posted By: Barbara Afogho (group A)


  1. Very informational post. I feel like people are often confused about the flu virus as well as the vaccine, how the virus mutates and how one vaccine is effective in inhibiting one strain of the flu and not another (including myself). It is all very complex and fascinating stuff! I am glad you posted this so our class has the opportunity to educate ourselves on the topic of flu season.

    Erika Nevins

  2. It is reassuring that there are medications available to aid people who have become sick with the flu. While I support the annual flu vaccine and personally made an effort to go get mine done, there are far too many people who believe that the flu vaccine won't help them because there's no guarantee that the vaccine they're receiving will match up with the flu virus that's going around. It is especially interesting how this years dominate flu virus has mutated in order to be resistant to the flu vaccine. This was an informative post, and I learned a bit about cross-protection and trivalent vaccines. Nice!

    -Michael Salhany

  3. Very informative. I think this information is extremely relevant especially since were in the thick of flu season. The thought of an always changing flu can be frightening at times, which is why we should always be vigilant when it comes to our ever changing enemy. I think you've done a good job of summarizing a lot of relevant information regarding the flu, great post.

    David Rains,

  4. This is very informative I didn't know that a traditional flu vaccines protected against 3 different flu viruses. Its interesting how vaccinated people are more prone to the flu when its meant to prevent it. Personally whenever I get the flu shot I got sick around the same week which I've always found really strange because I was fine until then. Its fascinating how H3N2 mutated in response to the vaccine. Interesting post I learned a lot about some aspects of the flu and the vaccines.

    -Jazmin Granadeno

  5. Very interesting to think that a vaccine designed to prevent the illness may leave and individual more susceptible the virus in the end! Overall very informative post, great job!

  6. Very interesting to think that a vaccine designed to prevent the illness may leave and individual more susceptible the virus in the end! Overall very informative post, great job!

    -Hilary Mello

  7. Great article, especially during this time of the year when everyone is getting sick. It's important to make sure as many people stay informed about flu vaccines and know what is best for them. Mentioning the two antiviral solutions was also a smart move, since I doubt too many people know how to fight the flu without vaccinations and/or rest
    -Dan Staiculescu

  8. Great article, I thought it was just bad luck that I was sick all of January after getting vaccinated in the fall. Great job explaining the phenomenon of drift so clearly and concisely. Someone that has not taken a science course in their life could most likely read this post and understand what you're talking about, and that's a great skill to have.

  9. Good post! Like mentioned above, it is written in a manner that appeals to a wide audience, not only people with a science background. Based on all the press in the news against vaccinations, it's nice to see that you mentioned alternatives to something that is so commonly administered in our community.

    -Rebecca Quirie