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Multiple-Virus Flu Vaccine Developed in Japan

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A flu vaccine that works against multiple viruses has been developed by Japanese researchers, who said the vaccine could help prevent a deadly bird flu pandemic caused by mutating viruses.

The vaccine is based on common, rarely changing types of protein inside flu viruses. Current flu vaccines utilize a protein on the surface of viruses, but the protein commonly mutates and renders vaccines ineffective, Agence France Presse reported.

Tests on mice implanted with human genes showed that the new vaccine is effective even when flu viruses mutate, said Tetsuya Uchida, a researcher at Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Uchida told AFP the research team needs to confirm the vaccine's safety with further experiments on mice and possibly large animals before they can test it on humans. That means it could be several years before the vaccine is available for use.

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