Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Universal Flu Shot

PostedJanuary 20, 2013

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Anchor Lede: Each year a vaccine against new flu viruses needs to be made…and some people who get a shot still get sick. But soon just one vaccination might protect against all flu strains.

Randy Atkins: Most flu vaccines use whole viruses, inactivated or weakened. But Joseph Kim, CEO of Inovio Biomedical Corporation, says all that’s needed to prompt immunity is a piece common to all flu viruses. Their computer programs select key D-N-A from many viruses that, strung together…

Joseph Kim: …serves as a blueprint for an actual vaccine that gets manufactured inside your own cells.

Randy Atkins: To help the D-N-A get into cells, Inovio has engineered a system which gives tiny electric pulses with the injection.

Joseph Kim: That’s enough to open up the pores of your cell membrane, and your pores close up. This has shown to enhance immune responses.

Randy Atkins: Kim says one shot might last several years. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

Anchor Tag: Human trials of this D-N-A vaccine are underway.