(CNN)As a deadly flu season continues to ravage the United States, scientists are scrambling to find new ways to fight the virus, including building vaccines that offer stronger protection against the most aggressive flu strains and last longer than just one season.
One new study offers a novel approach to developing such a vaccine.
Scientists have used a mutant influenza A virus to develop a vaccine that gave the immune systems of mice and ferrets a significant boost, according to the study published in the journal Science on Thursday. The newly designed vaccine has been tested only in those lab animals, and more research is needed to determine whether it could be used safely and effectively in humans.
Yet the researchers hope that, once more studies are conducted, this vaccine could “reduce the spreading of influenza viruses in the world,” said Ren Sun, a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, and the study’s senior author.