Importance Of Developing A Universal Flu Vaccine

The flu outbreak puts millions of people at risk every year. This year’s flu outbreak has been deemed to be the worst of the decade. One of the reasons behind this is the unfortunate failure of this year’s flu vaccine. This vaccine is said to be only 25% effective against the most often identified virus of this flu season. According to the experts, time and money can solve this issue hopefully before the next flu outbreak. Drug companies have already gotten their best teams on creating a more effective flu vaccine for the upcoming year.

In any given flu season, flu shots are said to be effective anywhere between sixty to forty percent. However, this year, the mark fell way below that, causing many people to fall victim to the flu in spite of getting the flu shot. Every year the drug companies try to come up with a better vaccine similar to the measles inoculation. The flu shot is targeted at a couple of the commonly seen strains of flu, making people vulnerable to the other strains of flu. The ideal flu shot needs to be able to protect people against at least 90% of the flu strains out there.

Since the flu virus is always mutating, it makes it difficult to come up with a single flu shot that works for all strains. There are hundreds of different viruses and vaccines can protect humans for only a couple of these viruses. However, the current flu outbreak has put a lot of attention on the importance of coming up with a flu shot that is effective and will last a lifetime as well. Many drug companies like Sanofi are trying their best to deal with the situation. In fact, Sanofi has even signed a deal with SK Chemicals Co that is related to developing a universal vaccine against different flu strains.

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Recent Climate Change At the Poles

Human beings can wreak environmental damage to any place they live or work in by clearing out forests, strip mining mountains, etc. However, Antarctica was out of reach till now was supposedly said to be safe from damage at the hands of humans. Sadly, this is not the case anymore. Climate change has made sure that no corner of the planet is safe from the destruction caused by humans. The gradual increase in temperature has caused the sea ice around the poles to reach a record low last year.

Although the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice is deemed important, the ice that around Antarctica seems to be causing more panic amongst scientists and researchers at present. According to the recent studies, if the greenhouse gas emissions continue at the present rate, there will be at least a 4 ft sea level increase in the low lying areas around the world. This is why NASA uses satellites to monitor the climate and weather from outer space. This way, the present scenario is monitored, helping the scientists come up with different ways to slow down the climate change.

NASA’s IceBridge mission was established in 2009 to cover the Polar Regions and study the state of the ice at these locations using equipment like radars, laser altimeters, gravimeters, and magnetometers. The mission consisted of 8 to 12-hour expeditions where the average cruising altitude of the flights was maintained at 1500 ft. and at times even lower than that. The pilots were allowed to change the cruising altitude according to the lay of the land.

The thinning of the ice is measured using a laser altimeter and a shallow radar. If the problem of thinning ice is not solved soon, the world will be facing trouble pretty soon. It is up to the people to take the issue of climate change into their hands and try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.