A one shot flu jab which might work for life may be on the way after a scientific breakthrough made by an Australian and Chinese led research team, it was revealed on Thursday.
A team of medical experts have discovered how what they call flu-killing CD8+T-cells memorize strains of influenza and destroy them.
The teams from Australia's University of Melbourne and Shanghai's Fudan University worked together during the first outbreak of avian flu in China in 2013.
University of Melbourne's associate professor Katherine Kedzierska said on Thursday that 99 percent of people with the H7N9 virus were hospitalized, while 30 percent died.
"After collecting samples from infected patients, we found that people who couldn't make these T-cell flu assassins were dying," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"These findings lead to the potential of moving from vaccines for specific influenza strains toward developing a protection which is based on T-cells."
She described the cells as the body's "army of hit men", which killed the cells infected by the virus.
The researchers want to make a vaccine from a component of the early killer T-cells.
The breakthrough could lead to the development of a vaccine to fight all new influenza viruses.
It also could lead to a one-off universal flu vaccine shot, Kedzierska said.
"This work will also help clinicians to make early predictions of how well a patient's immune system will respond to viruses, so they can manage early interventions such as artificial ventilation more effectively."