A few weeks ago I went to my local drug story a got a flu vaccine. So far <knock on lab bench> I’ve had a pretty healthy flu season. But there’s a fair chance I may get the flu anyway this winter, because flu vaccine effectiveness is modest compared to vaccines for many other diseases. What’s more, I’ll need to head back next year to the store to get another shot. That’s because flu vaccines today are still based in some fundamental ways–in their production in chicken eggs and in the molecules they target on viruses–on World War II-era science.
I’ve written an article for the December issue of the Atlantic about how we got into this strange situation, and how scientists are trying to bring our fight against flu into the twenty-first century. Check it out.