Universal Influenza Vaccine: On the Horizon or Out of Reach?

I intend to conduct research on current efforts to create a universal influenza vaccine. Recently, there has been a push to design a vaccine that targets all influenza subtypes so the vaccine would only have to be administered once, instead of once every year, and provide broad protection against all flu strains and subtypes, instead of only the three or four subtypes that scientists predict will be prevalent each influenza season. This universal vaccine could also provide protection against animal influenza strains that have the potential to spill over into the human population and reach pandemic status.

In order to complete this project, I will gather background information about the seasonal influenza vaccine to provide context and a source of comparison and will then delve into the current scientific literature on efforts to create a universal influenza vaccine, weighing each proposed strategy against each other based on approach, cost, effectiveness, and workability. I will also conduct research into the policy side of creating a universal influenza vaccine to determine how quickly such a product would make it to U.S. markets, what laws and regulations are relevant, and where the funding would come from. Finally, once I have gathered enough information and evidence, I will create an in-depth synthesis paper that clearly answers the question: is a universal influenza vaccine possible, and if so, how soon can it replace the seasonal influenza vaccine?