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Influenza viruses circulate worldwide causing annual epidemics that have a substantial impact on public health. This is despite vaccines being in use for over 70 years and currently being administered to around 500 million people each year. Improvements in vaccine design are needed to increase the strength, breadth, and duration of immunity against diverse strains that circulate during regular epidemics, occasional pandemics, and from animal reservoirs. Universal vaccine strategies that target more conserved regions of the virus, such as the hemagglutinin (HA)-stalk, or recruit other cellular responses, such as T cells and NK cells, have the potential to provide broader immunity. Many pre-pandemic vaccines in clinical development do not utilize new vaccine platforms but use "tried and true" recombinant HA protein or inactivated virus strategies despite substantial leaps in fundamental research on universal vaccines. Significant hurdles exist for universal vaccine development from bench to bedside, so that promising preclinical data is not yet translating to human clinical trials. Few studies have assessed immune correlates derived from asymptomatic influenza virus infections, due to the scale of a study required to identity these cases. The realization and implementation of a universal influenza vaccine requires identification and standardization of set points of protective immune correlates, and consideration of dosage schedule to maximize vaccine uptake.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Immunol

Publication Date





T cell, clinical trials, hemagglutinin-stalk, influenza virus, universal vaccine