WaltC wrote on Apr 28, 2018, 21:16:
Seems a waste of money--the reason flu vaccines don't work well (if they work at all, which is doubtful)is because as it spreads, as the flu virus jumps from person to person, it *mutates* every time, making a vaccine for *the* flu strain afflicting most people quite impossible. Each year millions of people in the US get flu vaccinations and each year it seems we have pandemics of flu, anyway--and that's why. The flu vaccine makers simply guess at a particular strain and manufacture the vaccines for *that* particular strain--which would be great if the flu virus *did not mutate* from person to person--but it does and we know it does. The impossibility of a flu virus that works is pretty solid--but like everything else, greed and a willingness to throw away good science for wishful thinking carries the day.
Yes, and no.
First, the non-science part. The vaccine manufacturers don't make the prediction on which strains they're going to target, the CDC does.
Now onto the science part. The influenza virus has a surface protein (hemagglutinin) with two parts, the head and the stalk, akin to a mushroom. The current vaccines deal with the head, however antibiotic research from the 90s found a few that went after the stalk. It's the head that has the variety of strains, the stalks are pretty much the same across the types. In this case the types are A, B, and C. When you hear people talking about the H versions, they're talking about subgroups of A. These subgroups (antigens) are different versions of hemagglutinin.