Intended for healthcare professionals


Gates Foundation challenges researchers to create universal flu vaccine with $12m offer

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 01 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1922
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google founder Larry Page have announced a $12m (£8.76m; €9.97m) “grand challenge” aimed at stimulating research into a universal flu vaccine that would eliminate the need for yearly shots tailored to prevalent strains.

Gates’ announcement, at this year’s Shattuck Lecture hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society, came soon after research in Clinical Infectious Diseases predicted that next year’s vaccine will only be 20% effective against the prevalent H3N2 strain, largely because of flaws inherent in the egg based manufacturing process.1

There are signs that the US government agencies tasked with confronting the influenza threat are losing faith in the current system …

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