Researchers say they may have found an Achilles' heel in the structure of the influenza virus. Flu viruses are known for changing their structure -- it's why vaccine makers need to come out with yearly updates to the seasonal flu shot, targeting the strains they believe will be most prevalent that year. Now, however, researchers report in two papers, one in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology and one in the journal Science, that they've identified a section of the flu virus that appears to remain constant from strain to strain -- potentially offering a target for a more durable vaccine. Antibodies to that section of the flu virus structure could also be used as an antiviral agent after infection, the researchers believe. We'll talk about the work, and whether a permanent flu vaccine might be on the horizon.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer