I am aware of some of the controversies surrounding the use of vaccines, but I am an advocate of vaccine use and have filed a great many vaccine patent applications throughout my career as a patent attorney. Their value to humanity (as well as animal health) cannot be underestimated. In fact, it is estimated that tens of millions of lives were saved through the use of the various Covid vaccines which were made available during the recent pandemic.

In spite of this, relatively few companies actively work on vaccine development and some of the big pharma companies are considering pulling out of vaccine work altogether. The reasons behind this are multi-faceted and too complex to discuss in a brief article such as this. Nevertheless, I was encouraged to read about a new flu vaccine which is currently being developed. As many will know, current flu vaccines are often given annually, due to the fact that the flu virus changes its structure ever so slightly every year. In order to keep pace with these minor changes, a different flu vaccine has to be developed and rolled out each year. However, there is hope of developing what is termed as a "Universal flu vaccine", which would still work in spite of the minor changes the flu virus constantly makes.

Whilst this work is still early in development, it is pleasing to see that with new techniques, which have been demonstrated through the development of some of the recent Covid vaccines, that there is renewed focus and appetite to develop further vaccines. Hopefully new vaccines will lead to reduced suffering and a great many lives being saved.

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